Pacific Asia Museum

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46 North Los Robles Avenue
Pasadena, California 91101
Open Wednesday through Sunday 10am to 6pm
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USC Pacific Asia Museum

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Life as a Bactrian Camel


This is a portrait of a Bactrian camel, the kind you would see traveling on the Silk Road.

Bactrian camels are from the rocky deserts and mountains of Central and East Asia. Their relatives, Dromedary camels, come from the Middle East and Africa’s sandy Sahara desert. Sometimes people get confused between the two, but it is easy to remember the difference: just like the letter “B” in their name, Bactrian camels have two humps, while Dromedaries have one.

Bactrian camels also have very thick hair for their below freezing winters. They shed it very quickly, though, to get ready for the hot summers. Their coat comes off in big sheets, making them look as if they have been sheared like a sheep. Do you think this a summer or winter camel? The two humps are where they store fat, to use when there is no water or food. As the fat is used up, the humps get empty and floppy. Is this a well fed or hungry camel?

To learn more about camels, check out the Camel Handler section inside the exhibit!

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