Slow and steady. Strong and dependable. Camels have been working with humans to take them on long journeys for years. Currently, there are two surviving species of camels: Dromedary and Bactrian. The Dromedary camels can be easily identified as the ones with only one large hump (think of a capital letter "D" turned on its side to remember!). Here at Zoo Miami, we have two Dromedary camels: Oscar and Sarah. Oscar is ten years old, and an absolute sweetheart. Friendly and outgoing, he is always in a good mood. He even has his own "Oscar dance"! Keepers have noticed him doing a curious little sidestepping dance when he seems to be a little eager or impatient. As a male Dromedary camel, Oscar has a large throat sac called a "dulla" that he will often inflate to vocalize and make a strange gurgling noise. This is his way of asserting his dominance and getting attention! On the other hand, Sarah is 14 years old, but not nearly as energetic as Oscar. She tends to be more prim and proper, usually carrying herself calmly and maturely. She does have her moments though; nothing makes Sarah as happy as her favorite treat: sweet potatoes. She has also been known to run and skip for some good browse!
Zoo Miami is also home to two Bactrian camels. These are the ones with two humps (think of a capital letter "B" turned on its side!). Our female Bactrian camel, Jessica, celebrated her 20th birthday on March 1. The oldest of our camels, Jessica is usually known to have a "sweet old lady" type of demeanor. She typically keeps calm and quiet, and isn't one to get too excitable. She does, however, brighten up for her favorite meals, like palms and cane grass. The male Bactrian camel, Bubba, is quite the polar opposite of Jessica. The youngest and newest of the camels, Bubba is only three years old, and was brought to Zoo Miami in August 2012. Since he is relatively young and still adjusting, he can be quite rambunctious and playful.
Both the Dromedary and Bactrian camels are fed hay, browse and about seven to ten pounds of grain every day. Keepers keep them entertained with giant Boomer Balls and logs, branches and bark that they can roll around or chew on. These camels can be seen on exhibit during the day. Visitors may notice them looking a little different over the summer though, as these animals will shed like crazy in the South Florida heat!