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TourismIamA Camel Tourism Operator, been working with my camel buddies for 7 years now! AMA!

Aug 15th 2015 by Pumpedupkikx • 61 Questions • 1800 Points

My short bio: Been working for Red Sun Camels for over 7 years now. It's a family business so whenever people ask about my pets I say I own 2 dogs and 36 camels.

My Proof: http://imgur.com/hg7vWG7

Q:

No question, just a thank you. I had a camel ride with your company on Cable Beach a few years ago, and it was a great experience. The camels were friendly and looked like they were being taken care of very well.

A:

Thank you! I apprecaite it.


Q:

Gotta ask what do they eat? Regular Grass?

A:

Hay is there main staple. They also get camel cubes every second day. (Very similar to dog biscuits)


Q:

So many questions about camels. 1. Do you laugh at people who ride them like a horse, or do you encourage it? 2. Do you use camel hair and camel urine as a tool? I've head they're useful creatures all around. 3. When they outgrow their usefulness as beasts of burden, do you eat them, or simply put them out to pasture? 4. Can you tell us about your favourite camel?

A:

1: our camels only do walking, so realistically it doesn't matter how people ride them, in 7 years I've had one crazy Asian guy who jumped up in his seat, starting screaming while doing the titanic arms out hold me jack. Luckily he was on Ghan, who was an old and reliable camel who wouldn't have been scared if airhorn went of next to his ear. 2. Camel urine not really, although hair can be used to make jumpers and coats, we don't do that because when we saddle them up we want to be as quick as possible so there's no time to collect the hair when we brush them. 3: Our camels generally work till the age of 30, and are then retired, they spend there days out the back of our property, I'll take a photo for you soon as I'm going round to do there feed soon. 4. My favourite camels name is muscles (I'll take a photo of him soon), he is quite weird, he's super affectionate, when I'm doing feeds he follows me around trying to put his head on my shoulder, the thing that makes him weird is about 1 in 30 times when you stop scratching him he will kick you down for no reason. I think he does it in a kinda "don't leave me way" but unfortunate he doesn't realise he's 800kg


Q:

Camel hair is really popular* for knitting, one ball can go for 20+ dollars, just saying maybe it'd be worth it to look into selling the hair or getting someone to collect it?

*I say really popular like it's a hot ticket item, it just happens to be super soft and very warm, so it is considered a good yarn to splurge on if you're wanting to have a treat. ^

A:

We do rides, it's what we do, to make use of the fur we would have to clean it and we just don't have the time.b


Q:

It is said horses are like 4 year olds, what age would you say camels are?

A:

There like 9 year olds. We always say.


Q:

Ghan

Awesome name.

A:

Named after the Ghan Railway, a railway between Adelaide and Darwin. They used camels to make it as the heat was too much for horses.


Q:

I'm mainly a horseman but also work with cattle and both can be quite friendly and enjoy human contact. I've met a few llama's and they were not friendly. How are Camels? Do most of them enjoy being scratched and groomed in general or only a rare few?


Q:

Ok, I hate to be that guy, but I took a camel ride with my girlfriend in Broome two summers ago, and it was great - except that towards the end of our ride a mother and her young daughter were bucked from a camel in front of us, and I think the mother ended up being hurt fairly badly.

So I've got three questions:

How dangerous is riding camels?

As a rider, what should you do to minimize your chances of pissing off the camel and getting bucked?

If a camel starts to buck what should you do to stay on and try to calm the camel down?

A:

I feared this.

Okay first things first I know about this incident although I wasn't working.

Muscles was the camel, he doesn't work anymore for this exact reason. About 1-30 camels never figure it out. In 15 years that incident was our only serious incident, so gives you an idea of how rare it is.

As a rider the best thing you can do is sit still really, if a camels gonna buck it's rarley the fault of the rider. It's either an internal issue for the camel or an external issue cares it (cars, dogs etc)

A camel will always stop bucking eventually, best way to hang on is to grip your bar and push your feet hard into the stirips, you'll only fall off if you lose a stirip.

An awful incident, but I'm glad to address why and how it happens, gives everyone a better idea.


Q:

What ended up happening to her?

A:

She was pregnant at the time, so we were majorly worried. Calling every month.

The baby was born healthy and happy which was fantastic to here. I can't even imagine the guilt the employee's of that day would have felt knowing they might have been the cause of a miscarriage.


Q:

To be fair, the ride was super mellow otherwise. It seemed like a crazy fluke incident at the time as /u/pumpedupkikx said. Just one of those times that someone took a really small risk and didn't entirely get away with it.

A:

We work 363 days a year (we get Christmas and Broome cup day off) with an average of 2 rides a day. Given the numbers one incident in 15 years in a minimal percentage.


Q:

How did you get into this business? and how much money do you make? have you had camel meat? are Camels smart of dumb animals?

A:

It's a family business, I was raised from a young age around camels. There my family.

There meat I have tried, it's like a leaner steak, nice enough.

All three company's in total turn over about a million overall. Although that isn't equally split, it's more like 40:40:20.

Camels are very intelligent, a great example of this is they are known to premeditate revenge. They will kick you one day and you'll think "what the fuck was that for!" Then you'll remember two weeks ago when they were being stubborn and you gave him a clip on the ear.


Q:

what's the wierdest camel fact you know?

A:

Man I was waiting for this question.

Alright, so my favourite fact, is that a severely dehydrated camel, can drink upto 200 litres of water in 10 minutes! To put that into perspective for all those drinkers out there, that is a 30 case of beer in 30 seconds. 365ml's a second! Reason they can do this is unlike a human there blood cells are shaped oval, meaning they can swell up to 250% there size. Every time I take muscles to the pub it's like "yeah mate I'll get a pint for me and a keg for my mate" (joking btw)

The weirdest fact though, is again when a camel is serverly dehydrated, the urine turns into a honey like syrup to preserve a water.


Q:

Thanks for signing up for Camel Facts. You will now receive fun daily facts about CAMELS!

A:

Lay them on me. I dare you.


Q:

So you're telling me they drink 200kg (440lbs) of water in 10 minutes? I don't want to doubt you because you're the camel guy, that just sounds like a ridiculous amount of water.

A:

It's because of there blood cells. They can hold 2x more then a humans, let alone there size!


Q:

What's your opinion on Terry Pratchett's take on camels being hyper-intelligent beings who hate everything? :P

A:

This made me laugh really hard, I can honestly say it wouldn't surprise me.


Q:

What is a common misconception people have about camels? And do similar things go on in the camel tours industry as other animal industries, like the elephant tours?

Thanks for your time.

A:

The spitting thing is the biggest one. Everyone thinks they spit. It's the most common question I get.


Q:

My girlfriend is adamant that she got spat on by a camel as a child at a fete. What is your response to this?

A:

Ahha if it was white and foamy my best guess would be the camel was already flustered and slobbering a bit and shook it's mouth and some might have flicked onto Her?

Either way, it's impossible for a camel to spit... So yeah. GG NO RE.


Q:

Why can't they spit?

A:

They just can't. Sorry I can't go into more detail.


Q:

Do you control your camels mating? Are they neutered or anything or do you just get free baby camels once in a while?

A:

All our boys get the snip, otherwise there extremely aggressive. It why all our camels are so calm.


Q:

So do the females get the turkey baster, or do you buy new camels?

A:

We buy them or capture them from the wild.


Q:

Were there any humps you had to get over when getting into the business?

A:

You very funny man.


Q:

Do you milk your female camels? I have read that people drink camel milk & eat the camel cheese.

A:

You can, but we don't, like the hair thing we aren't interested, our girls work hard enough without having to also be milked.


Q:

I've heard that since Camels were brought to Australia (as they were not indigenous and are freaking awesome at traversing the hell hole that is the interior), they had managed to over time escape and mate and spur a huge wild population. So large in fact that there is a need to cull them. Some means are which sniping them from helicopters.

How do you feel about this practice and are your camels "rescues" in that sense?

A:

Okay. It is hard to say this but the culling and exporting of these camels is a necessity. Camel populations jumped from 5000 to 1.5 million in 60 years. It was becoming such an issue that the death of these camels would have been a certainty as they would have eaten the landscape dry. The death of these camels is to acheive the life of others.

We certainly rescue! Our camel tiny was originally captured for consumption, the day of his slaughter we asked for there biggest camel to buy. They sold us Tiny 😊


Q:

I went on a camel ride in Broome when I was 10. They walked us through a nude beach - the sight of those old wrinkly naked men scarred me for years. Was that your company?

A:

Yes... We operate on the nude side. Depending how long ago that was come on down now. There's oldies but there's also European Backpacker. Your welcome.


Q:

Camels sound like the greatest thing ever, I want like 50 of them.

Except, are camels dangerous?, have they/can they kill?

A:

In all honesty, very. They are after all animal that weigh between 750kg-1T, can move up to speeds of 70km. And caught in the wrong position they could easily kill you. I've been kicked too many times to count and bitten once. The only time I have honestly felt threatend for my life was when muscles lost it and stomped me to the ground. He didn't keep going luckyily but if he had I think I would have died. Or at least been paralysed.


Q:

How smart are camels? Compared to say, horses or goats? I get that they're all individuals of course, but are some of the ones you have specifically curious, adventurous?

A:

Omg, I could go on for days on this question. I'll try and keep it simple.

Camels are considered to be about as smart as a 9 year old kid, as hard as that might be to believe I can certainly see it. They premeditate revenge, they fake injures (kid you not, one camel faked an injury so bad for a year, we got a vet out and he told is the camel was absolutely fine, he still tries it on now and again.)


Q:

Setting aside appearances, what's really going on in this camel's mind in this video?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIcGNxgrVZk

A:

He's not happy. It's clear. A happy camel is a quiet one. My best guess? The camel hates affection and it can't do anything to stop the woman as it's tied down. Video made me sad..


Q:

when you see a lady with a camel toe do you think, that looks nothing like a camel toe?

A:

Yeah I've always wondered that, I can understand to an extent, but yeah realistically a camels toe doesn't look all that similar to a camel toe.


Q:

Do camels grow beards?

A:

Yeah mate, some of them have these rough Curley ones, others have soft ones.


Q:

Any worries about your camels carrying MERS?

A:

Great thing about Australian camels is they were not originally from Australia, and so when they brought the first load of camels to Australia, none of them had any illness, due to this unlike Africa and the Middle East there are no diseases to affect them.


Q:

How difficult is it to handle camels, let alone 36? How much food and water do you go through feeding camels?

A:

Each camel is a different individual and therefore we approach each camel differently. Examples.

Zara: she's a lead camel and is so good once we put her rope on she walks into her own spot and sits down.

Tiny: psycho in the mornings, will run at you, fuck you up, then spit on your dead corpse. Lovely and docile in the afternoon.

Muscles: doesn't work, try to put a rope on him and he kicks you down were you stand.

Ned: will look like he's trying to take your arm off, but the secret is to put your hand in his mouth, all he wants to do is suck your finger like a dummy.


Q:

Ever had to cut one open and sleep inside to escape a sand storm?

A:

I'm a camel man, not Bear Grylls.


Q:

You haven't seen Star Wars, have you?

A:

I'm not a massive fan, although I do know George Lucas used camels for the sound of wookies! Which is so cool IMO


Q:

I heard that there was some drama going on between all the camel ride companies in Broome. I know there were issues the the local government only allowing one company to run, but I think that only lasted a season. What are each of the competing operators like these days?

A:

Haha you have to be Australian to of heard of that.

Yeah I was in the centre of that, it involved our company and another, I won't get into too much detail as I would be here all night, but the generally themes were camel theft, serious arson (middle of the night everything caught fire, fire fighters said they couldn't even point out a direct cause of it, everything was equally lit and the man suspect took a flight out of town for that one night. "Suspicious don't ya think?") sexually explicit photos of our employees placed on the track we walk them down ( playing sick mind game)

That was bout 3 years ago. We ended up winning the case, got all our camels back and the guy who did it went to prison. He's out now working with camels in Alice.

EDIT: didn't see your last bit till now. All three company get along quite well, it's a very "stay out of our way and will stay out of yours" mindset.


Q:

Jesus. That's enough material for a tv show. Camel Wars.

A:

Yeah, took a serious toll on some people.


Q:

Sounds like the struggle with horse thieves back in the day of the Far West in the US...

A:

Ahahh it was different to that, the man who did it was a con artist, he befriended us, we truely trust this man. Then in the middle of the night spat in our faces by taking half the camels.


Q:

Aww! Did you get the same camels back? That must've been heartbreaking to have them stolen :(

A:

Oh yeah. Got them all back.

How sick is this right. The man who did it, faked the death of our best camel (Names issac after Issac Newton, camels generally take between 6 months to a year and a half to train, he took two weeks) and moved him down to his secret farm the day before who took the rest of them with him. We mourned this camel as you would any loved one so you can imagine the smile on our faces when we found out were he had moved all the camels and when we turned up the very first camel we saw.

Issac.

Tears of joy honest to God when we saw him. It was like seeing a ghost.


Q:

What's the top speed of a camel, and have you ever tried to joust with these camels?

A:

Top speed: 70km, but impossible to ride at those speed.

Race speed: 20-30km


Q:

What country has the best and worst tourist? Thanks.

A:

Best tourists? American, they seem so interested every time. It makes our day when the customer shows interest.

Worst: Generally Asians, mainly because when they travel in groups there is maybe one, two who speak English. So either you awkwardly hand gesture basic facts, or get them to translate down the train, which is quite ignorant of other customer, also when they do speak English they generally don't seem to care, like everything I say is a hoax. They are generally only interested in photos.


Q:

Do camels cry?

A:

Yeah, they will cry when there upset.


Q:

Do any of your customers ever try to smoke a Camel on a camel?

A:

Before our ride starts we do a talk very similar to a airline. Every one does there's differently, mines goes like this.

"ALLLLLLRIIOGHTY guy if I could have your attention for one last time, three simples rule for everyone today, that is no smoking, no drinking alcohol and no jumping off!, sure you won't have a problem with the last one. If you look down and your knuckles are white your probably hanging on too tight, so relax, you are here to enjoy yourself after all. If you would like feel free to take your feet out of the stirips, some people find that more comfortable anyway And finally, if the camels find themselves in the water today you'll find a life jacket under your seat (it's a joke at the fact our talk sounds like a planes, there aren't any life jackets)

People get they can't smoke.


Q:
  • how intelligent are they?
  • how dangerous can they be if they want?
  • working with them, do you end up smelling like camel? :)
A:

They are considered as smart as a 9 year old kid. Intelligent, but always looking to push the envelope

In all honesty, very. They are after all animal that weigh between 750kg-1T, can move up to speeds of 70km. And caught in the wrong position they could easily kill you. I've been kicked too many times to count and bitten once. The only time I have honestly felt threatend for my life was when muscles lost it and stomped me to the ground. He didn't keep going luckyily but if he had I think I would have died. Or at least been paralysed.

Yes, omg yes, and it sucks, my parents complain, my girlfriend complain's, takes a lot of scrubing.


Q:

Lol.

Thank you for answering this, I only noticed later that you had already answered the question about their intelligence.

As hard as your work sounds, I want you to know that many of us who have never worked in contact with nature and animals think that you guys are living a wonderful experience. Myself, I am a 41 years old italian guy who worked all his life in an office with computers... but I would be willing to at least try for once what it means to do some real, physical hard work that can maybe drain you physically but does not drain you psychologically... at least not as much as you can be drained when you work for years in a toxic office environment, where many co-workers are potential backstabbers who want your job... many of us would gladly take daily camel kicks over this misery, after a while!

Keep up the good work!

A:

I get this once a day I reckon.

"Your job is amazing your so lucky"

I get it, I do, but there is so much you don't see, the ache of your legs after a 30km day, and you've been kicked, and half the customer's treated you like shit, and your so sick off it but you gotta put that smile on.

Some day I dream of an air conditioned office with a computer.


Q:

Where do you do this? I saw it extensively while in the Middle East but have yet to see it elsewhere.

A:

Broome, Cable Beach in North Western Australia.


Q:

Can we see a picture of your camels?

A:

Posted a few threw the thread, but here's a special one just for you!

And anyone else who see this.. http://imgur.com/3Edb69a


Q:

Are you Pakalu Papito?

A:

Nope.. Ahha


Q:

Do you buy the camels, or do you kidnap some of the wild ones in australia ?

A:

It's a bit of a 50/50, sometimes it's just easier to buy trained camels. Although most of our newer camels are personally trained by us.


Q:

Hi mate

fuck I love Broome, spent some time at cable beach resort and found 100 foils on the beach once!!

my question..

Are you the guys that went through some camel wars? a few operators having a fight over territory? who won?

cheers

A:

That was my family. We won the case bout three years ago, I went into more detail a bit up the thread.


Q:

What's the biggest challenge with keeping camels? Do they get sick? Do you have to treat them for pests and diseases?

Thanks

A:

Camels are really great at survival, it's kinda there thing. So we don't do anything to them really, no shoe's, no cutting teeth and nails, sometimes if they get a cut we will spray them with anti infected. But that's bout it. If they get a serious injury will do everything we can.

Sometimes worming.. But that happens every 2 years.


Q:

Do you think I could work there?

A:

Your username! Love it!

All you can do is apply, it's a very sought after job though. And it is quite hard work. I'll walk anywhere between 100-200km a week at work. When I started working here again in December I weighed 95kg. 3 months later I weighed 63.


Q:

Do any of your camels ever ask you if you know what day it is?

A:

Haha not yet! All though I'm sure some are starting to wonder when the weekend will come.


Q:

First of all, Happy Cake Day!

What are the names of your camels?

A:

I didn't even Realise! Thanks 😋

Alright we have 36 camels, I'll try to get them all.

Alice Alice 2 Muscles Lofty Felix Whitey Bazza Wangai Ned Burke Wills Zara Horris Lukey Xena Tiny (2nd biggest) Cloud Wun Jabby Tonku Seta Jerry Hall Coco Kabul Khan Rodney Bully (really sweet and shy) Mission Harley Archey Savannah Chris Wills Jacko Matilda


Q:

How do you feel about the Gieco Hump Day commercials?

A:

I've never seen it tbh, I live in quite a remote area of Australia so maybe we don't get it?


Q:

I am a Recreation Managament major with a concentration in Commercial Recreation and Tourism. What are some of the effects of the industry? Good or bad, social, economic, environmental, etc.

A:

Ummm, okay, let me think.

Good : Camels live about 10 years longer in captivaty, cause of a constant source of food, water and veterinary care.

Environmentaly, the camels have very little impact on the beach life, and camels are considered a pest in Australia, so taking them out of the wild assists in that.


Q:

Are you Pakalu Papito?

A:

Still no..


Q:

How much can a camel carry weight wise? :)

A:

We limit our camels to a maximum of 95kg per person to ensure the wellbeing.

A camel can carry 400-500kg comfortably, but only if loaded while standing.

The Australian record is 895kg, but unfortunatly the camel had a heart attack and died.


Q:

Thanks for the answer! Did you ever have to turn down a customer because of their weight? I imagine that to be very awkward for everybody involved.

A:

When a customer books with us one of the first question we ask is "how much is the weight of you and your partner." If they try to lie to us and show up and we are suspicious, we retain the right to ask them to step on our scales, 99 cases out of 100 will be obviously correct. Some might consider it rude but it's about looking after our camels.


Q:

Do you smoke, and if so, which brand?

How often do your camels spit on you?

A:

Haha, I love this question, unfortunately Australia or at least my town doesn't sell camel cigarettes. So I'm a winfield blue man.

Camels don't spit, it's a really common myth and being in the same family as the llama I can understand why, but no. They don't, what they will do if really aggravated they will throw up on you.

We use to have a camel named Joe Camel, which is named after the mascot from camel cigarettes.


Q:

Being red Camels, what do you think of blue Camels?

A:

Haha I don't know if your trying to joke but there is a blue company called "Broome Camel Safari" and there our neighbours, nice enough.


Q:

I live in Broome... was a very serious question. :P

A:

Well first thing first, hope you enjoyed cup day today!

I still hold to my answer, there nice enough.


Q:

I had work... :( Did you go?

A:

I've been a bit ill, planned on going but knew if I went I would drink and if I drunk I'd get sick so I gave it a skip.