Do Camels Pee? (How Often And How Much?)

Like all mammals, camels pee as well. Camel’s pee is a yellow-colored liquid byproduct of its body; it is mostly water and waste from the blood. Camel’s kidneys make it when they filter toxins and other bad stuff from the body.

Camel pee mostly consists of water, salt, electrolytes, and various acids. It contains nitrogen, ammonia, urea, creatinine, creatine, hippuric acid, and chloride. Benzoic acid, phenylacetate, and citric acid have also been reported in camel urine. [1

The main electrolytes found in their pee are sodium, zinc, magnesium, potassium, albumin, and others. Albumin is important, as it helps camels retain water.

The pH of fresh camel urine ranges from 8.2 to 9.2. That means that their pee is alkaline or basic. As a comparison, normal pH values for humans are from 4.6 to 8.0.

do camels pee

How Do Camels Pee?

After the camel’s body has taken what it needs from the food, some waste products are left in the blood. Camel’s urinary system removes a type of compound called urea from there. 

Urea, together with water and other waste substances, forms the urine as it passes through the nephrons, the filtering units of the kidneys. The renal pelvis, the area at the center of the kidney where urine collects, plays a role in urine concentration by recycling urea. This is very important, as it helps the camel save as much water as possible.[2

From the kidneys, the urine then travels to the bladder. Camel’s bladder is small and has a size of around 5.9-7.8 inches (15-20 cm). 

When it is time to urinate, the camel will empty its bladder. The camel prefers to urinate standing up and the stream goes forward. This is a basic representation of a camel’s urination process.

Camel urine is extremely concentrated, has very little water content, is salty, and has a consistency of syrup.

Sometimes, male camels will pee on their legs to cool down. And during a mating season, they pee on their tails, and swish that pee on their back, to seduce the females. Pretty weird, huh?

How Much Do Camels Pee?

The amount a camel will pee depends on its hydration status. A camel will usually pee between 0.13 and 1.3 gallons per day (0.5 to 5.0 liters), sometimes even more.

If a camel is water restricted, it will urinate around 0.2 gallons (0.75 l) per day. If a camel is severely dehydrated, that number drops to 0.13 gallons a day (0.5 l). 

When the camel is properly hydrated and fed, urine volumes as high as 1.8 gallons (7 l) can be seen per day.

What is interesting here, is that the camel will simply proceed to graze, no matter how long it has been without water.

How Often Do Camels Pee?

Because of their small bladder, compared to other ruminants of the same body size, a camel will pee frequently. Urination frequency depends on age, sex, and time of day. Usually, a camel will urinate between 9 and 11 times per day; once every two or three hours.

Male camels will pee around 11 times in 24 hours (6 times during the day and 5 times during the night). Female camels will pee 10 times in 24 hours (6 times during the day, and 4 times during the night). Young camels will pee 9 times per day, 5 times during the day, and 4 times during the night. [3]

A different study discovered that adult camels urinate around 5 times per day, youngstock around 11 times, and sucklers about 7 times per day.[4

How Long Does Camel Peeing Last?

Depending on the age, camels will spend from 18 to 28 seconds urinating. In adult camels, peeing lasts about 28 seconds, in youngstock camels 22 seconds, and sucklers 18 seconds.

This also agrees with the “Law of Urination” that says that all mammals empty their bladders over the same duration, 21 ± 13 seconds. Camels fit well in that range. [5]

Final Thoughts

This concludes our article on the question “do camels pee”. 

We showed that like all mammals, camels pee as well. Their pee is highly concentrated, thanks to their kidney structure. Because of their smaller bladder, camels urinate frequently, 9-11 times a day. Depending on their hydration status, they can pee from 0.13 and 1.3 gallons per day (0.5-5 l). That urination lasts from 18 to 28 seconds.

Did you know that people on the Arabian Peninsula have been drinking camel urine for decades? They mix it with different herbs and create a urine oil that helps with hair growth.


References

[1] Khedr, A., and F. Khorshid. “Characterization and Determination of Major Bioactive Acids in Camel Urine Using Gas Chromatography Mass-spectrometry.” Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 78.5 (2017): 680-687.

[2] Abdalla, M. A. “Anatomical features in the kidney involved in water conservation through urine concentration in dromedaries (Camelus dromedarius).” Heliyon 6.1 (2020): e03139.

[3] Khan, B., et al. “A study on some of the activity patterns of Camelus dromedarius maintained in Thal area of the Punjab Pakistan.” Pakistan Journal of Agricultural Sciences 33 (1998): 67-72.

[4] IQBAL, ARSHAD. Studies on some of the productive, reproductive, and behavioral aspects of camel in Pakistan. Diss. University of Agriculture Faisalabad, 1999.

[5] Yang, Patricia J., et al. “Law of Urination: all mammals empty their bladders over the same duration.” arXiv preprint arXiv:1310.3737 (2013).

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