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- Experiences rut in cooler / wetter seasons (greatest availability of food)
- Peak rut in the Gobi: late January/February
- Develops a dulaa (sack-like extension of the soft palate).
- Triggered by rising testosterone levels
- Used to produce a mating call: male blows through the dulaa to push it outside the mouth (looks like a red balloon) and uses saliva to create a low gurgle.
- Size of dulaa indicates male's virility to female
- Marks territory with secretions from poll glands (on back of neck, between ears).
- Rub necks on any solid object.
- Urinates on own tail and swishes it over its back
- Urine contains female-attracting pheromones.
- Exhibits aggression toward other males.
- Becomes extremely active - collects a harem with as many as 10-20 females (Bannikov, 1976)
- Undergoes estrous cycle in breeding season: receptive 3-4 days, non-receptive following 10 days.
- Bleats to indicate receptive.
- Approaches male, presenting hind quarters.
- Urinates constantly.
- Flips tail up and down – short quick movements.
- Dulaa also present in females but never extruded.
- Only ungulate that copulates in a “sitting” position.
- Reproduction rate: 2 year interval (minimum).
Gestation and Birth
- ~1 year (12-14 months).
- No reports of twins.
- Most young born at end of March / April.
- Female becomes restless, and separates from the other animals.
- Calf size dependent on the size of its parents. ~35 (25 kg – 52 kg) males larger than females.
- Front legs of calf appear first - then head.
- Calf’s drop to the ground breaks umbilical cord.
- Only ungulates that do not lick and clean baby. Sniff extensively and help the calf find milk.
- Mother is protective – won’t accept orphaned young (these must be hand-raised)
Infant (< 1 year old)
- Precocious young – stand and walk shortly after birth.
- Starts to eat grass around 2 - 3 months old.
- Weaning at 1-2 years.
- Reach adulthood: females ~3-4 years, males around ~5-6 years.
- Wild/feral animals: 20-35 years in the wild
- Domestic animals: maximum of 40-50 years
A Long Time in the Womb
A female camel is pregnant for at least a year.
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