A camel’s hump is undoubtedly its most striking feature–so much so that you may not pay a lot of attention to its other characteristics.
Do camels have tails, for instance, and what do they look like?
Camels have tails that measure between 1.5 and 2.1 feet long. They’re covered in short brown fur and have a tuft of hair at the end. Male camels urinate on their tails and spread the pheromone-fille urine over their backs to attract mates. Camels also use their tails to swat away pests and communicate their mood.
Read on to learn about all of the features and functions of a camel’s tail.
Characteristics of Camel Tails
Camels’ tails may not be their most notable feature, but they’re still an important body part. Let’s get into the characteristics of a camel’s tail.
A camel’s tail is brown in color and covered with short fur. It features a tuft at the end that is a few inches long.
The length of a camel’s tail is between a foot and a half and two feet long on average.
For two-humped Bactrian camels, tail lengths range from 1.7 to 2.1 feet.
Meanwhile, for one-humped dromedary or Arabian camels, tail lengths can be 1.5 to 1.8 feet long.
There is some variation in the length and width of camel tails between specific breeds. For example, Majaheem camels have long tails with a narrow base, while Waddah camels have short tails with a wide base.
3 Purposes Of Camel Tails
A camel’s tail isn’t as integral to its survival as its humps, but camel tails do have several functions.
1. Mating Aid
When male camels are ready to mate, they have many ways to attract females. One of the most commonly-used methods is for male camels to urinate on their tails. Camels then use their tails to spread the urine over their back.
Male camels’ urine contains pheromones, so spreading it onto themselves can entice potential mates.
This is only one of the males’ many seduction methods; you can see a couple of others, such as foaming at the mouth and displaying the dulla, in this video.
When female camels are receptive to a male’s advances, they will present their hindquarters and quickly flip their tails up and down.
2. Pest Repellant
Not only are camels’ tails important during the mating season, but they also come in handy during everyday life by acting as a pest repellant.
Mosquitoes, bees, and many other bugs live in the desert and can prove to be quite a nuisance. Like many other types of mammals, camels can swat them away with their tails.
They generally have two methods of preventing bugs from landing on and biting them.
First, they swish their tails to create wind, and this keeps about half of the insects from landing in the first place.
Second, camels’ two-part tails (one part with mainly bone and skin, and the second tufted part primarily made of hair) function as a double pendulum to accurately swat the insects that do land on them.
Not only can camels fend off insects with their tails, but they’ve also been known to swat at another type of pest when annoyed: human tourists.
The third and final purpose of a camel’s tail is to communicate. Different tail movements and postures can be representative of various moods.
For example, if a camel curls its tail over its back, that’s seen as a sign of submission.
Similar to dogs and other animals, camels can also wag their tails to show that they’re feeling content.
Meanwhile, a flick of the tail can indicate aggression or annoyance.
Camels’ tails are covered in short brown fur and have a tuft of hair at the end. They range from 1.5 to 2.1 feet in length and have three important functions.
First, a camel’s tail is perfect for swishing and swatting away desert pests like flies, mosquitoes, and bees. Camels have even been known to swat humans with their tails.
Next, camels use their tails as a mating aid. Males urinate on their tails and spread the urine over their backs to attract females with the pheromones it contains. If they’re interested, females will present their hindquarters to the males and move their tails up and down.
Finally, the position and movement of a camel’s tail can indicate its mood. A tail flick can show that a camel is feeling annoyed, while a tail curled over a camel’s back is a sign of submission.
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