Why does a camel need a hump

Do you know why a camel needs unusual outgrowths on its back? Many consider the camel hump to be a water tank, thanks to which camels can go without water for many days in the hot desert.

In fact this is not true.

The camel, also known as the "ship of the desert" (due to its ability to carry heavy loads of up to 500 kg), is an amazing creation of nature. And not only because of its ability to go without water for extended periods, but because of how it copes with the harsh conditions of the desert, including the heat.

But back to camel humps. In fact, camels do not store water in their humps, but fat. Humpbacks are food supplies in case of emergency. Camels do not have humps, as a layer of fat appears only when they begin to eat solid food. The main diet of a camel is thorns. How do camels actually satisfy their water needs? Or maybe they can do without water?

The thing is that camels get water from the fat accumulated in the hump; when one hundred grams of fat is oxidized, 107 grams of water are obtained. If everything is so simple, then why can't other animals adapt to life in the desert? After all, everyone has fat. The fact is that for the oxidation of fat, a large amount of oxygen is needed, and for this the animal must breathe vigorously. With each breath, dry desert air enters his lungs, leaving the body completely saturated with moisture. But in the camel, the moisture released from the nostrils during breathing collects in a special fold and gets back into the mouth, preventing the loss of precious liquid.

A camel can drink up to 200 liters of water at a time, and quite quickly. 100 liters of water in 10 minutes. Camels are not scrupulous in their choice of water. Even salt water will be fine. This, as well as their amazing ability to reduce water loss to a minimum, helps them survive in the desert. Some researchers believe that water is evenly distributed in the tissues of the camel's body, and not only accumulates in the humps. If this were the case, then the concentration of salts in the camel's body would be lower compared to other animals. However, it has now been proven to be false.

Unlike most warm-blooded animals, which maintain a constant body temperature, camels' body temperature changes depending on the ambient temperature. It can vary between 35 - 40 degrees Celsius. This helps them reduce the loss of water through sweating when the ambient temperature rises.

In addition, camels are practically non-dehydrated. While most animals can die from dehydration, losing 20% ​​of their body weight as water, camels can survive losing up to 40% of their body weight without serious consequences. Here is the answer to the question that arises when looking at some camels: why does a camel have a hump - it's just that when losing weight, all the fat that gave the hump a shape has left it. As soon as the camel gains the missing weight, the hump will take shape again.

But why is fat stored in the hump, not elsewhere? The point is that fat acts as an insulating material that prevents heat loss. The humps serve as a kind of natural "roof" that protects the camel's back from the scorching sun.

By the way, the famous children's writer Rudyad Kipling has his own answer to the question under discussion in the fairy tale "Why does a camel have a hump". And if in the Russian proverb the hump appears from work, then in this work everything turned out exactly the opposite. The hump of the camel was awarded for laziness.