The Camel

This remarkable beast is often called “The Ship of the Desert” because for many centuries it was the only way of transport across the vast deserts of Arabia and Africa.

Almost certainly the wise men in Matthew 2 would have travelled on camels to Bethlehem to see the infant Lord Jesus Christ.

The camel has been ideally created by God for the harsh desert climate. Its extra long eyelashes keep the sand out of the eyes especially during the dreaded sandstorms. Also the nostrils have very special muscles which are so strong they can
prevent the sand getting into their noses. Unlike horses, whose hard hooves would sink into the sand, the camel has pads on its feet which make walking on the sand much easier.

The camel has to endure very hot days and very cold nights. The difference in temperature between day and night can, for example, be between 40 degrees centigrade at noon, and minus 10 degrees at night. The thick desert coat is ideally suited to shield from these extremes. This is the reason also why the nomadic tribes often use camel hair for their tents.

A camel often has to go many days without water. From one oasis to another can be a journey of several days or even weeks.

How does it survive?

Sometimes there are leafy plants to eat.

It has been said that a camel can lose up to a quarter of its body water and still keep going!

It looks half starved but unlike us, whose blood would become very thick and hard for our heart to pump around the body if without water for long periods, the camel does not lose water from its blood so the heart works normally.

When at last it finds water, the camel may drink up to 27 gallons (120 litres) of water in as little as ten minutes!

What are the big humps (sometimes just one hump) on their backs for?

They are not just to make it comfortable for the rider to secure himself on the back, but they contain stores of fat. These stores supply the camel with extra energy when water is scarce.

There can be as much as 100lb (50kg) of fat in one hump!

Another thing which God has especially designed in the camel is that its body temperature drops at night and then rises only slowly during the day. In this way it only begins to feel hot in the afternoon. Our temperature only varies a little unless we are ill.

All of these facts about the camel show us what a wonderful Creator God is. It is impossible that all of these special features could have come by chance or evolution. God created the camel just as He did all the other animals as we read in Genesis 1.

By Gerald D. Buss

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