Bactrian camels are well equipped with two humps, both of which store large amounts of fat to see them through lean times. They inhabit arid regions and are found along rivers in Siberia during winter, dispersing into the desert when the snow melts in spring. They prefer a diet of plants, but when such nutrient sources are not available these highly adaptable animals will feed on bones, and in extreme conditions may eat rope, sandals and even tents!
Scientific name: Camelus bactrianus
A simple memory technique can help you instantly tell a dromedary from a Bactrian camel.
A simple memory technique based on a visual mnemonic can help you instantly tell a dromedary from a Bactrian camel.
Surreal images of the last of the truly wild Bactrians in Mongolia's extreme winter.
There are few of these nomadic camels left in the vast Mongolian wilderness. They're so acutely sensitive they take fright when you're more than 4km away but a powerful HJ40 lens enabled the crew to film from a distance. Aerials were filmed from a Russian M18 helicopter using a conventional Tyler mount to dampen the shake. Increasing the film speed to 40fps rather than 25fps made the images smoother.
Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
The following habitats are found across the Bactrian camel distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
The Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus) is a large, even-toed ungulate native to the steppes of central Asia. Of the two species of camel, it is by far the rarer. The Bactrian camel has two humps on its back, in contrast to the single-humped dromedary camel. Its population of two million exists mainly in the domesticated form. Some authorities, notably the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), use the binomial name Camelus ferus for the wild Bactrian camel and reserve Camelus bactrianus for the domesticated Bactrian camel.
The domesticated Bactrian camel has served as a pack animal in inner Asia since ancient times. With its tolerance for cold, drought, and high altitudes, it enabled travel such as the caravans of the Silk Road. The wild form has dwindled to a population estimated at 800 in October 2002 and has been classified as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Its range in the wild is restricted to remote regions of the Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts of Mongolia and China, migrating from the desert to rivers in Siberia during winter. A small number of wild Bactrian camels still roam the Mangystau Province of southwest Kazakhstan and the Kashmir valley in Pakistan and India.
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