As the largest mammals living in the desert, camels are well-adapted to the harsh conditions of their habitats. Their thick coats offer protection from the scorching summer sun and provide warmth at night, while their humps store fat that releases both energy and water when needed. Their feet are protected by large, calloused pads that expand when stepped on and contract to make walking over sandy or snowy terrain easier. And, although they do not go into full hibernation or estivation, camels can regulate their body temperatures by up to eight degrees either way to conserve energy and minimize sweating.
Camels are able to sleep standing up, a position that helps them stay safe from predators and enables them to move quickly if they sense danger or need to graze. This unique sleeping pattern also allows them to spend up to 7 hours a day asleep, although they typically break this time into smaller resting intervals.
Like many other mammals, camels need to sleep. It’s a key part of their metabolism and cellular processes, allowing them to repair their bodies and regenerate their cells. However, unlike other animals, camels don’t go into hibernation or estivation in winter or summer, instead choosing to adjust their daily routine according to the weather.
In wild camels, this means roaming for food in the hot desert days and resting at night in their natural environment. In domesticated environments such as zoos, camels are kept in facilities that meet their behavioural and physical needs to ensure they can live long and healthy lives.