The Big Ones, Part IV: Camels

I’ve both ridden a camel and spun camel fiber! (I wouldn’t recommend using the outercoat for anything other than rugs and ropes.)

There are two camels still in existence: the one-humped Dromedary (Camelus dromedarius) native to Arabia and two-humped Bactrian (Camelus bactrianus) native to East Asia.

Most yarn containing camel fur comes from the Bactrian camel. (Pic source). (Interesting tidbit: The Bactrain has two rows of eyelashes which help protect its eyes and can close its nose – both great when there’s a sandstorm.)

The Bactrian stands between nearly 6 to 7-1/2 feet (180 to 230 cm) at shoulder, and the average height at the top of the humps is nearly 7 feet (213 cm). They weight between 660 to 2,200 lbs. (300 to 1,000 kg). Camels provide milk, fiber, meal and labor; they are commonly used as draft animals.

The Bedouin wove the hair from Dromedaries into tents. As camels are domesticated, their hair can be clipped or even pulled off. Children of historically nomadic tribes were often charged with following behind camels and collecting tufts of the camel down. Juveniles under two years old have a fine undercoat – light and fluffy; the outercoat is coarse and could be made into durable rugs.

For those fiber crafters who are looking for a great gift for your camel-owning friends, maybe a colorful muzzle for the camel?! (Pic source)


About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
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10 Responses to The Big Ones, Part IV: Camels

  1. Pingback: Saving wild camels in China, Mongolia | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. I love the image of the Bactrian camel. It is a beautiful animal.


  3. caityrosey says:

    I’m convinced that there’s a third breed of camel. It comes with a “hump” better known as a beer gut. Saving the beer for later, I guess.


  4. Or grazing?! 🙂


  5. I imagine that the owner would be upset to learn her/his hat is now on a camel! 🙂


  6. Of course I could be wrong – given my extremely limited interactions with camels – but I would imagine they have some sort of natural defense against that (as they do with their eyes against sandstorms) … but I could be wrong!


  7. ethgran says:

    Or maybe the muzzle is to keep the critter from biting and spitting. ;o} Enjoyed learning about camels!


  8. I love how the camel muzzle is clearly just a hat tied in place. At least it would be easy! I’m surprised in the wide size range for adult Bactrians. I guess it’s tough to get big when your natural territory is that harsh…


  9. Northern Narratives says:

    I though the camel muzzle might be to keep the dust out of their mouth?


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