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The Bactrian Camel, Camelus bactrianus, is a two-humped camel that lives in the rocky Gobi desert and the grasslands (steppes) of Asia; these habitats get both very hot and very cold. Bactrian camels have a life span of about 40 years. These hardy mammals are an endangered species.

The Hump: The Bactrian Camel's two humps contains fat (and NOT water). The camel can go without food and water for 3 to 4 days. It is well adapted to desert life.

Anatomy: Camels are very strong mammals with wide, padded feet. Thick leathery pads protect the knees and chest. Camels have nostrils that can open and close, protecting them from blowing sand. The ears are also lined with protective hairs. Bushy eyebrows and two rows of long eyelashes protect their eyes from sand. The mouth is extremely tough, allowing camels to eat thorny desert plants. Thick fur and underwool keep the camel warm during cold desert nights and also insulates against daytime heat. Bactrian Camels are over 7 feet (2 m) tall at the hump and weigh in excess of 1,600 pounds (725 kg).

Diet: Camels are herbivores (plant-eaters); they eat grass, leaves, and grains. Many camels have been domesticated and are fed by people. The Bactrian Camel can drink up to 32 gallons (120 liters) of water at a time.

Classification: Subclass Eutheria (Placental mammals), Order Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates), Suborder Tylopoda, Family Camelidae, Genus Camelus, Species C. bactrianus.

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