Camel pregnancy, gestation, and fertility have been a topic of vast scientific research for a while now.
Camel fertility presents the ability of the male and female camels to mate, conceive and give birth to a living camel calf.
Several factors are affecting it. Poor nutrition and poor grazing are said to be a large cause of reduced sexual activity between camels.
In this article, we will discuss the camel pregnancy, camel pregnancy period, how to tell if a camel is pregnant, what a pregnant camel is called, and the number of camel babies a camel can have. Finally, we will describe how a camel gives birth.
Terms like camel pregnancy and camel gestation will be used with the same meaning here – both explained in the next part.
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Camel pregnancy or camel gestation is a period between conception and birth, during which an embryo (later fetus) of a baby camel develops in the uterus of a camel.
Before a camel becomes pregnant, a male camel will need to mate with her.
It is reported that one male camel can serve around 50 female camels during the breeding season. That number can rise to 70 if the male is well fed.
Usually, a female camel will start with sexual activity aged 2 or 3, but will not give birth until the age of 4. A male camel matures around the age of 4 or 5.
The act of mating in camels is known as “lakhana” in Rajasthan.
(Rajasthan is also a place in India with famous swimming dromedary camels).
Although the left and right ovaries in female camels have the same function, pregnancy will occur mostly in the left horn. Embryos produced in the right horn will even migrate to the left one for unknown reasons.
Camel Pregnancy Period
Usually, the pregnancy period of a camel is between 12 and 15 months, depending on the camel species. In days, camel’s gestation usually lasts between 375 and 390 days, but can go up to 403 days.
The Dromedary camel’s gestation period is between 12 and 15 months, while the Bactrian camel will have a pregnancy length of around 13 months.
Several studies have shown that the camel gestation period is affected by different factors.
For example, it has been noticed that when a camel gives birth in autumn and winter, her pregnancy period is 6 days longer compared to camels that deliver their baby during spring or summer. Also, a calf born in December was around 10 pounds (4.6kg) heavier than the one born in September or April.
Other factors like the sex of the calf, feeding standards, and the age of the pregnant camel are also said to have an effect.
What Is A Pregnant Camel Called?
A pregnant camel is called a git.
According to the experts, a “get” or a “git” is a vernacular term for an animal’s offspring.
According to one study, a pregnant she-camel will have leukocytosis, highly increased levels of leukocytes in the blood.
This is characterized by a reduced neutrophil fraction and higher percentages of lymphocytes and monocytes.
How Do You Know If A Camel Is Pregnant?
There are several ways to know if a camel is pregnant.
Usually, a pregnant camel will raise her long tail 2 weeks into the pregnancy when approached by a male camel. Towards the mid part of the pregnancy, a notable increase in the size of the abdominal region can be another indicator. A she-camel will also seal her external cervical os when pregnant.
When looking at biochemical and physical indicators, a pregnant camel will have a large corpus luteum and very high progesterone levels from the 2nd week of pregnancy (over 1 ng/mL). Also, high concentrations of serum oestrone sulphate can be measured in pregnant camels (5 – 10 ng/mL). Camel’s urine gets dark yellow color and the pH of urine becomes 3.10.
Usually, when a camel is not pregnant, camel urine has a pH value between 8.2 and 9.2.
Pregnancy in camels can be also detected by using transrectal ultrasound as early as 17 days of gestation.
To protect the future calf, a pregnant camel should not be allowed to run too much. It should be given proper water and food amounts, about a quarter more because of the growing fetus. Also, fighting between camels should be prevented, as that can lead to kicks in the abdomen.
How Many Babies Does A Camel Have?
The camel labor lasts between 12 and 24 hours, and a camel will almost every time give birth to one baby camel. The chance of a camel giving birth to twins is around 0.4%.
A female camel usually gives birth every 2 or 3 years. In some areas and under certain conditions, parturition intervals of 18 months are possible, but not recommended.
The fertility rate in camels is rather low, being around 50%. Age does not have any effect on that percentage, as male camels aged between 2.5 and 5 years, had a fertility rate of 47%, aged between 5 and 10 had 52% and aged 10 to 20 had 47%.
Studies have shown that with improved management conditions of camels and better care, that rate can go up to 65%.
Want to know if animals have orgasms and g-spots? Read this article.
How Does A Camel Give Birth?
A camel will first find a proper place to give birth. Then, the animal will push the baby out. The head and then the legs are the first to appear. After the baby is pushed out, a camel will deliver the placenta and start bonding with her newborn.
The first thing that is noticeable when a camel is about to give birth is that she becomes more restless, increases her humming, urinates more frequently, and her sacroisciatic ligaments become more relaxed.
Also, the presence of colostrum in the udder and dilation of the cervix are good indicators that the camel is ready to give birth.
Progesterone levels will also drop sharply 24 hours before giving birth.
As mentioned, a camel will then distance herself from the herd and find a corner or a dark place which she will clean with her limbs when ready to give birth.
Next, a camel will take a sitting or lying on the side position. She will push with the contractions.
First to appear is the head and then the front legs.
A camel might also stand up to help with the parturition process, but that is not very common.
After the calf is out, it will drop on the ground, and will still be in his amniotic sack.
Next, the camel will deliver the placenta. The placenta should be intact, otherwise, it could suggest a possible infection.
Finally, the camel will bond with its newborn, which will be able to walk after 6-8h.
Usually, camel newborns have an average weight of 77-88 lbs (35-40 kgs).
Want to see some camel baby photos? Make sure to check 23 of the cutest photos of camel newborns you have ever seen!
Camel pregnancy is a period that lasts for about 15 months, depending on the camel species.
Before a camel gets pregnant, she needs to mate with a male one. And before mating, she needs to get attracted to a male.
Further reading: How Do Camels Attract Mates? (Very Weird!)
A camel will almost every time give birth to 1 calf, which usually weighs around 80 lbs after birth.
There are several ways to check if a camel is pregnant. Some are visual, with an increase in the abdominal region, and wagging of the tail when near a male camel. And other include checking various biochemical indicators.
Camel parturition can last around 24 hours, but most of the time, it will be from dusk till dawn.
After giving birth to a healthy calf, a camel will bond with her newborn.
And contrary to popular thinking, camels do not lay eggs.
Further reading: Do Camels Lay Eggs Or Give Birth? (Simply Explained!)
Hopefully, we helped you understand better camel pregnancy, camel pregnancy period, and how camels give birth.