Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Camel Crazy

I love the Bactrian camels of Mongolia. The combination of their quirky looks, loud bellowing and amazing physical capabilities just amaze me. Up until this trip, when I thought of camels I associated them to a desert climate. However, the first time I saw one of these camels it was in the glacial valleys of the Altai Mountains. Completely out of context. It's fairly rare to see them that far north, but there they were roaming around.

Camels are incredibly strong and can carry heavy and awkward loads which is why they are used to transport the gers of nomadic families when they need to move from one location to another. In addition, they supply food products such as milk and cheese. Milking a camel is no easy task as they are known to kick fast and hard. To assist in getting the flow going, they have their young calf suckle for a few minutes.

A critical step in milking is tying one of their rear legs back, as they are known to kick hard and fast.

Let's take a closer look at the camel. You have to admit, they look a little on the funny side.

The hooves are huge and designed perfectly for sand, and the butt end, well it's kind of cute, don't you think?

Their faces are a interesting to look at. Large eyes with long eye lashes, a cute mouth (when it's not spitting at you) and soft ears that you want to rub.

They can also be quite talkative as this little one is displaying.

They are comfortable in a pack, comfortable to ride and ready to serve you. Without them, you would not be able to survive in the Gobi Desert.

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