In a few short weeks, my picture book science series about animal adaptations will make its way into the world (Nomad Press, August 2020). I can’t wait to share these books with kids – they are gross, silly, and fun. My goal with the series was to go beyond simple adaptations kids may already be familiar with to adaptations that are strange and amazing and, well, gross.
The first creature I would like to feature is from the mammal book, Stink Fights, Earwax, and Other Marvelous Mammal Adaptations – camels. Camels, you ask? Camels are boring compared to star-nosed moles and platypuses (also in the book!). Oh, but they are not. They are marvelously adapted to living in the desert, which is why they’ve been called the “ships of the desert” for a very long time – for over 3,000 years domesticated camels have been used for transport across inhospitable terrain.
Let’s start with the fact that camels can survive without water for over a week, and several months without food (even losing up to 40% of their body weight). And did you know that camels’ humps are not filled with water? They are filled with fat that is utilized when there is little food to eat. It’s like having your own personal energy bar on your back. If you ever see a camel with a drooping hump (or two) you will know that it has used up its fat stores. Next, camels’ eyes have a clear inner eyelid to protect against blowing sand. In addition, they have not one, but two rows of eyelashes. Anyone who’s ever been to beach on a windy day knows how useful that adaptation is! Another way camels protect themselves against the blowing sand is by closing their nostrils…no one wants sand up their nose, even a camel.
You’ll have to read the book to learn more about other marvelous mammal adaptations!