EFA: Etsy For Animals Etsy For Animals: Teachable Moment: Don't They Spit ?

Etsy for Animals (EFA) aka Artists Helping Animals,

is a team of independent artists, craftspeople,

vintage sellers and craft suppliers on Etsy.com

who are dedicated to providing charitable relief to animals

by donating a portion of the profits from their shops

to an animal charity of their choosing,

and/or to EFA's featured Charity of the Month.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Teachable Moment: Don't They Spit ?

It is interesting to me to think about what would be needed to keep an exotic animal in the back yard...

Just how big of a bathtub would that hippo you want for Christmas need?

An elephant eats HOW much?

A camel is a real back yard possibility in the US. If you have a BIG back yard. Vocabulary words are marked with a * - you'll find the definitions at the end of this article.

Teachable Moment: Don't They Spit ?
written by Emily of YarnMiracle

Camels have been domesticated* in the Middle East and Asia for somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 years. They are kept for their meat and milk, used as pack animals and transportation. Their hair is another perk - they shed about 5 pounds of hair when they molt in the spring - the hair is used for coats, yarn and artist's brushes. Camels are uniquely suited for life in harsh desert climates since they have adapted to survive about a week without water and a month without food. In fact, camels can safely loose 40% or their body weight safely (most animals die if they loose 20%) and drink up to 32 gallons of water at a time!

To raise a camel of your very own (isn't it every kid's dream?), first check your state and local law. While camels are more common than cars in Saudi Arabia, in some US states, camels are considered to be an exotic* animal and will fall under their exotic animal regulations. This is kind of funny to me since camels first evolved in North America and then spread to South America (llamas and alpacas), Asia and Africa.

If you are in a camel-friendly area, the next thing to consider is space. Camels are big. Really. Big. They weigh 80 pounds at birth and the males keep growing for six years to a shoulder height of 7.5 feet, a length of 11.5 feet and a whopping 1,500 pounds! Females are slightly smaller, weighing in at 660 pounds and a mere 6 feet high at the shoulder. Since the graze like cattle, camels need plenty of room to stroll around as they eat. If you have enough room for a horse, you probably have enough room for a camel.

Even though camels tend to be healthy, hearty creatures - anybody who eats thorns for breakfast probably isn't prone to heart burn - you should still consider whether your local vet will treat camels.

But what are you going to feed your new family member? In the desert, camels eat practically anything: low quality grasses, thorns, salty plants that other animals won't touch. If they are really hungry, they will eat meat, bones and fish. You can add a good quality hay or grain to your camel's grazing to keep him healthy - but watch out for the nutrition-packed hays that are available, you'll make you camel fat. Since the skinny ones are 660 pounds, I hate to imagine what a fat camel looks like. Camels are ruminants* like cows, so they spend about 8 hours grazing around and then another six to eight chewing the cud*. If you keep your camel near water, he may take sips periodically. But if his food is alive and green, he may not drink for moths because he gets all the moisture he needs form the plants. The most important thing you can provide your camel with is salt. They need eight times as much salt as cattle, so make sure he has plenty available.

Obviously, you shouldn't run out and buy a camel just for fun. They are sentient* and intelligent animals that deserve the same respect of any living creature. If you do decide to raise camels some day: educate yourself, be responsible in the care of your animal and keep up with the latest in camel current events.

About the spitting:

It isn't really 'spit' - when camels get agitated, they might fling some of that cud around (hey, who wouldn't). Camels raised domestically (particularly those bottle-fed as babies) tend to be gentle and easy-going. Treat them with kindness and there will be no need for frequent showers. For spit, you'll have to get a Llama.


Domesticated (or tamed) - When a population of plants or animals is, by process and selection, becomes accustomed to human provision and control.

Exotic - Of foreign origin or character; not native*

Native - Related to the place or environment where a species of plant or animal came into being.

Ruminant - Having a multi-chambered stomach. Cows and goats are examples of ruminants.

Cud - a portion of food that returns from a ruminant's stomach in the mouth to be chewed for the second time. Ew.

Sentient - Conscious and having perception by the senses.


  1. This is fascinating! I never knew much about camels :)

    And, thank you so much for featuring my desert photograph!

  2. How interesting! I love the way she interacts with her camel. Even the kisses! I had no idea they would eat meat!

  3. Great post! Loved learning about camels!

  4. So interesting! I don't think I'll be getting one anytime soon though, but they are awfully cute!! Love the video and pics!


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