The Old-world camels of today, Camelus, include 3 species under their roof:
- one-humped domesticated Dromedary camel
- two-humped domesticated Bactrian camel
- two-humped Wild Bactrian camel
The one-hump Dromedary and two-hump Bactrian camel split from a common ancestor about 700.000 years ago.
In this article, we will look into the main differences between one hump and two hump camels.
Differences Between One Hump And Two Hump Camels
1. Difference In Humps
A Dromedary camel has one hump, where a Bactrian camel has two.
This one is a rather obvious one, but we had to include it in the list.
A hump is a fatty tissue deposit located on the backs of the camels.
If there is not enough food or water available, a camel will use those deposits, break the fat tissue down and turn it into energy and water.
When a camel has been going for long periods without food and water, you will be able to notice how its hump gets smaller and bends to the side.
Further read: Three-hump and four-hump camels (real or not?)
2. Difference In Weight
Bactrian camels usually weigh between 990 to 1,100 pounds (450 and 500 kg), while Dromedary between 992 and 1,521 pounds (450–690 kg).
You will find various numbers about camel weight on the internet – for this one we consulted with Guinness World Records.
So when it comes to weight, the Dromedary camel takes the day.
Those are the weights numbers of mature, large male camels. Females usually weigh less; dromedary ones range between 660 and 1190 pounds (300 and 540 kg).
3. Difference In Habitat
Bactrian camel inhabits cold desert regions of Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China. Dromedary camel inhabits hot arid deserts of Africa, India, and the Middle East. A feral population of dromedary camels inhabits Australia.
Dromedary camels of today mostly inhabit desert territories with a long dry season and a short rainy season, while Bactrian camel’s habitats range from rocky mountains, to flat arid desert, stony plains, and dunes.
4. Difference In Lifespan
Bactrian camel’s lifespan is about 50 years in the wild, but in captivity ranges between 20 and 35 years. Dromedary camels have a lifespan between 40 and 50 years. Feral Dromedary camels live between 20 and 35 years in the wild.
Life expectancy is the average time between birth and death of an organism.
When it comes to camels, there is a difference between camel’s lifespan in the wild and lifespan in captivity, with their longevity significantly shorter when they are in captivity.
5. Difference In Height
When comparing height differences between one-humped and two-humped camels, we will look into 2 measurements: head-body height and shoulder height.
A Bactrian camel is usually between 10 and 11.5 feet long (3.2-3.5 m), while a Dromedary camel is between 7.2-11.2 feet long. When looking at shoulder height, a Bactrian camel is between 5.2-5.9 feet (1.6-1.8 m), while a Dromedary is 5.9-6.6 feet (1.8-2 m)
6. Difference In Gestation Period
Gestation is a period of development of an embryo (later fetus) of a baby camel in the camel’s uterus. Gestation, or pregnancy period, is different between different camel species.
Usually, a gestation period of a Dromedary camel is around 12.5 months (about 384 days), and about 13 months for Bactrian camel (403 days).
7. Difference In Population
There are about 15 million Dromedary camels and about 2.8 million Bactrian camels in the world today. The feral Dromedary population in Australia is considered to be about 300,000.
And according to estimations, there are over 35.5 million camels in the world today in total. In 1961 that population was about 13 million.
A very important thing needs to be mentioned regarding the Wild Bactrian camel population. They are declared critically endangered by The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with estimates of 900-1600 of these camels remaining and their numbers decreasing every year.
Here’s a tabular presentation of the differences between one-hump and two-hump camels.
|Camel species differences||Hump||Weight||Habitat||Lifespan||Height||Gestation||Population|
|Bactrian two-hump||Two||990 – 1100 lbs||Central Asia||35 years||10 – 11.5 ft||403 days||2.8 million|
|Dromedary one-hump||One||992 – 1521 lbs||Africa, India, Middle East, Australia||50 years||7.2 – 1.2 ft||384 days||15 million|
And there it is!
In this article, we presented 7 differences between one-hump and two-hump camels.
Although very similar, there are differences between Dromedary and Bactrian camels, like the ones regarding height, weight, lifespan, populations, humps (most noticeable), and others.
We hope you’ve enjoyed and learned new things about these camelids.
Further reading: Australian Camel Facts