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The Zamian Camel

In the high desert, the best form of transport for merchants and travellers is by camel. The Zamian camel is a tall, rugged animal that has been domesticated for centuries and some tribes even race the strongest camels, wagering great sums on the contests. As a beast of burden, the camel is very capable of transporting a merchants entire annual wares cargo across the desert in a few days, moving on well-known trails between oases.
At the annual water festival, camels are ritually washed and brushed and dressed in fine leather harnesses, offering tourists rides around the city of Akhang-Ahvar. Smaller related species live in the less arid lands, such as the sure-footed alpaca in the mountains and the woolly llama, bred for its luxurious coat from which fine woollen clothing is woven. Camels are also used for their milk and their meat by the natives of Zami Ramal and the tough but soft hide is tanned for valuable leather.

Basic Information


Zamian camels are a four-legged ungulate mammals, having a single hump, which stores fat, not water, and there are three toes on each foot. The body is covered in short fur and the males carry a mane of longer dark hair along the neck. Their diet is vegetarian and domesticated camels survive on dried corn cobs, hay, water and palm nuts. Males and females are of equal size and musculature, weighing up to 550lb and a single male will control a harem of up to ten females. The long eyelashes and sealable nostrils protect against the constant desert dust and sand. Domesticated camels will live for up to 50 years. They can run at about 30mph in open terrain and can carry up to 300lb for a day.

Genetics and Reproduction

Zamian camels breed once per year and young are rounded up from the wild ranging herds in an annual corral by rangers on horseback. Females come into season a few days after giving birth, usually just before the waters return to the deserts. Gestation is 10 months and females will separate themselves from the herd to find a watering hole at which they can give birth and rest.

Growth Rate & Stages

The Zamian camel reaches sexual maturity at about 7 years old and young males are chased away from the herds by the alpha male camel at this age. As they mature, the male camels grow a "calling sac" in the throat which is inflated to amplify their bellowing when calling in the seasonal rut. The hump is fully formed by about 10 years of age.

Additional Information

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Zamian camels have an excellent sense of smell and can detect water up to 1 mile distant. They can also sense a sandstorm approaching and will instinctively sit down and close eyes and nostrils when they do so. They are reasonably intelligent and can learn many commands from a good trainer but they can be bad-tempered and willful, particularly as they grow past 30 years of age.
Aye, horses are faster but camels are smarter.
— Mathayus, Prince of Assassins.
Zamian Camel, Desert Llama, Mountain Alpaca. All descended from a single, sheep-sized ancestor which roamed free in the lands before the desert. Evolving to cope with the increasing lack of water and vegetation, camels are now abundant.
Conservation Status
Zamian camels are bred in the desert and allowed to roam freely in herds. This ensures that all young are hardy enough and are socialised with other animals.

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Cover image: camel_train_Afar_asv_Lake_Karum_areaBy_A Savin by A Savin


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