Do camels really have water in their humps?

By Tara Santora - Live Science Contributor 16 hours ago

Is there any truth to this myth?

To survive in the desert, camels store water in their humps, right? Not quite. Although camels do have tricks to make the most of water they find, their humps aren't one of them. So why do camels have humps on their backs?

What's in these camels humps?(Image: © Shutterstock)


사막에서 살아남기 위해 낙타들은 혹에 물을 저장하나? 

   그렇지 않다. 비록 낙타들은 그들이 발견한 물을 최대한 활용할 수 있는 재주를 가지고 있지만, 낙타의 혹에 저장하는 건  아니다. 그렇다면 왜 낙타는 등에 혹이 있을까?

혹은 지방 저장소

릭 슈워츠 샌디에이고 동물원 동물보호감독관은 "이들은 음식과 물이 부족한 건조한 계절에 대처한다"고 말했다. 먹을 수 있을 때, 낙타는 그들의 혹을 쌓을 수 있을 만큼 충분한 칼로리를 섭취해서 음식이 부족할 때 오랜 시간 동안 살아남을 수 있다. 슈워츠는 "혹으로 낙타는 4개월에서 5개월까지 먹을 수 있다"고 말했다. 슈워츠는 낙타들이 지방을 다 써버렸을 때, 다시 부풀어 오를 만큼 충분히 먹을 때까지 그들의 혹은 줄어든다.

어린 낙타는 이러한 지방 퇴적물을 가지고 태어나지 않고 어미가 돌보는 동안 자라지 않는다. 슈워츠는 라이브 사이언스와의 인터뷰에서 "엄마에게서 얻는 모든 에너지는 신체의 성장으로 가는 것"이라고 말했다. 어린 낙타들은 태어난 지 4개월에서 6개월이 되었을 때 젖을 떼기 시작하지만, 10개월에서 1년이 될 때까지 혹이 형성되기 시작한다. "하지만 야생 낙타들은 계절의 순환에 접해 있기 때문에, 첫 해 안에 혹을 가질 필요가 있다,"라고 슈워츠는 말했다. 

"어린 낙타들이 첫 건기를 이겨내야 하므로."

황기철 콘페이퍼 에디터

Ki Chul Hwang Conpaper editor curator

via youtube

edited by kcontents

The answer: fat storage. 

"They deal with dry seasons when food and water is scarce," said Rick Schwartz, an animal care supervisor and national spokesperson at the San Diego Zoo. When food is available, camels eat enough calories to build up their humps so they can survive long periods of time when food is scarce. With a "full" hump, a camel can go up to four or even five months without food, Schwartz said. When camels use up their fat, their empty humps flop over like a deflated balloon until they eat enough to "inflate" them again, Schwartz said.

Camel calves aren't born with these fat deposits and don't grow them while they are nursing. "All the energy they're getting from mom is going to the growth of the body," Schwartz told Live Science. Young camels begin to wean when they are 4 to 6 months old, although their humps don't start to form until they are 10 months to a year old. "But as the wild camels are dealing with the cycles of the seasons, they need to have some sort of hump within that first year," Schwartz said. "They have to make it through that first dry season."

There are two species of camels. Bactrian camels (Camelus bactrianus) live in parts of western China and Central Asia, and they have two humps. Arabian camels (Camelus dromedarius) are more common and have only one. But as far as Schwartz is aware, the extra hump does not allow Bactrian camels to go longer without food.


edited by kcontents

Although many animals store fat around their stomachs and sides, camels pack on the pounds vertically. One theory is that camels have a stomach callus which they lay directly in the sand, and belly fat could make it harder to lay this way, Schwartz said. Another theory is that being tall and narrow, with fat stored in humps instead of around the sides, means camels are exposed to less sunlight and less heat.

Because camel humps store food, the dromedaries need other ways to cope with water scarcity. For example, camels can can drink up to 30 gallons (114 liters) of water in one sitting, they excrete dry feces to retain water, and their kidneys efficiently remove toxins from water in the body so they can retain as much as possible, Schwartz explained. Camels have several other ways to make each drink of water go far, such as by catching moisture from every breath they exhale through their nose. 

This incredible ability to make do with less water is "probably why the myth came about that if they go so long without water, they must be storing water in the humps," Schwartz said.

Originally published on Live Science.

What's Inside A Camel Hump? 


Posted by engi, conpaper Engi-

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