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Camel vs. Dromedary: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 17, 2023
A camel is a large, desert-dwelling mammal known for its humps, while a dromedary is a type of camel with one hump, commonly found in the Middle East and Africa.

Key Differences

The term camel refers to a member of the Camelidae family, known for their ability to survive in arid environments. The dromedary, or Arabian camel, is a specific type of camel distinguished by having a single hump.
Camels are broadly classified into two types: the dromedary with one hump and the Bactrian camel with two humps. Dromedaries, however, are well-adapted to hot desert climates and are predominantly found in the Middle East and North Africa.
Camels have been domesticated for thousands of years for transportation and carrying goods. Dromedaries, being more common, are specifically known for their endurance in extreme heat and long journeys without water.
The humps of camels are fat reserves that help them survive in harsh conditions. The single hump of the dromedary is an efficient adaptation for hotter, more arid desert environments.
Both camels and dromedaries are herbivores and have similar diets, but their physical adaptations reflect their different habitats. Dromedaries have thinner coats than their Bactrian counterparts to cope with the intense heat.

Comparison Chart

Number of Humps

One or two


Dromedary and Bactrian
A type of camel


Deserts, cold and hot
Hot deserts, mainly in Middle East and Africa


Fat reserves in humps, thick coats for Bactrians
Single hump, thinner coat for heat tolerance


Transportation, carrying goods
Common for long journeys in hot climates

Camel and Dromedary Definitions


A camel is a large mammal adapted to desert life, known for its humps.
The caravan consisted of a dozen camels carrying goods across the desert.


A dromedary is a type of camel with one hump, adapted to hot deserts.
The dromedary is perfectly suited for life in the Sahara Desert.


Camels are used for transportation and carrying loads in arid regions.
In many desert cultures, camels are a primary mode of transportation.


Dromedaries are primarily used in desert regions for transportation.
Dromedaries are often seen in caravans traversing the Middle Eastern deserts.


There are two main types of camels: dromedary and Bactrian.
The zoo's camel exhibit features both a dromedary and a Bactrian camel.


The dromedary has a thinner coat compared to the Bactrian camel.
The dromedary's coat is well-suited to the extreme heat of desert environments.


Camels can go for long periods without water, thanks to their physiological adaptations.
Camels store fat in their humps, which can be converted to water and energy when resources are scarce.


The dromedary's single hump stores fat for energy and water conservation.
The dromedary's hump allows it to travel long distances without water.


Camels have been domesticated for thousands of years.
Domesticated camels play a vital role in the lives of nomadic desert tribes.


Dromedaries are native to the arid regions of the Middle East and Africa.
Dromedaries have been a crucial part of Bedouin culture for centuries.


Either of two chiefly domesticated ruminant mammals of the genus Camelus, the Bactrian camel or the dromedary, having a humped back and long neck, and used in northern Africa, the Middle East, and Asia as a beast of burden and a source of wool, milk, and meat.


A one-humped domesticated camel (Camelus dromedarius), widely used as a beast of burden in desert regions from northern Africa to western Asia. Also called Arabian camel.


A device used to raise sunken objects, consisting of a hollow structure that is submerged, attached tightly to the object, and pumped free of water. Also called caisson.


The single-humped camel (Camelus dromedarius).


(Sports) A spin in figure skating that is performed in an arabesque or modified arabesque position.


Any swift riding camel.


The Arabian camel (Camelus dromedarius), having one hump or protuberance on the back, in distinction from the Bactrian camel, which has two humps.


One-humped camel of the hot deserts of northern Africa and southwestern Asia


What is a camel?

A camel is a large desert mammal known for its humps and ability to survive in arid conditions.

What is a dromedary?

A dromedary is a type of camel that has one hump and is adapted to hot desert environments.

How many types of camels are there?

There are two main types of camels: dromedary (one hump) and Bactrian (two humps).

Where are dromedaries commonly found?

Dromedaries are commonly found in the Middle East and North Africa.

Can camels swim?

Yes, camels are known to be good swimmers.

Are dromedaries faster than Bactrian camels?

Yes, dromedaries are generally faster than Bactrian camels, especially in hot conditions.

Do all camels have humps?

Yes, all camels have at least one hump.

What do camels eat?

Camels are herbivores and primarily feed on grasses, grains, and desert vegetation.

What is the purpose of a dromedary's hump?

The dromedary's hump stores fat, which can be converted into water and energy when needed.

Are dromedaries domesticated?

Yes, dromedaries have been domesticated for thousands of years.

Can dromedaries survive in cold climates?

Dromedaries are not well-suited for cold climates; they are adapted to hot deserts.

What are camels used for?

Camels are used for transportation, carrying goods, and providing milk and meat in desert regions.

Do camels spit?

Yes, camels can spit as a defense mechanism.

Are dromedaries social animals?

Yes, dromedaries are generally social and often travel in groups.

How long can a dromedary go without water?

A dromedary can survive without water for up to two weeks under extreme conditions.

How fast can a dromedary run?

Dromedaries can run at speeds up to 40 mph (64 km/h) in short bursts.

What is the gestation period for camels?

The gestation period for camels is about 13 to 14 months.

Are camels endangered?

Some wild camel species are endangered, but domesticated camels are not.

How long do camels live?

Camels typically live for 40 to 50 years.

Is riding a dromedary similar to riding a horse?

Riding a dromedary can be different due to its unique gait and body shape.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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