Camel Camouflage

During a recent brief visit to the deserts of the United Arab Emirates, I was fortunate enough to witness a rare phenomenon.

At this time of year the wild camels become especially vulnerable to the Arabian leopard (Pantherus pardus nimr), as it extends its hunting range. The leopard is now endangered, but the traditional habits of its prey, the dromedary or Arabian camel, have not changed.

Look very closely at this picture and see if you can spot any camels.

You may be surprised to discover that there are actually over 40 camels in this picture.

In spring the camels use their teeth to gather branches from the thorn bushes around them and from a distance become indistinguishable from the thorn bushes themselves. A perfect disguise. Well, almost.

If you shake the image below on your screen you will see how the bush branches come loose and the camels are visible behind.

This very rare phenomenon is only seen in late spring, particularly early April.

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