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
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.
Thank you! I apprecaite it.
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?
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
It is said horses are like 4 year olds, what age would you say camels are?
There like 9 year olds. We always say.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
It's because of there blood cells. They can hold 2x more then a humans, let alone there size!
What's your opinion on Terry Pratchett's take on camels being hyper-intelligent beings who hate everything? :P
This made me laugh really hard, I can honestly say it wouldn't surprise me.
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.
The spitting thing is the biggest one. Everyone thinks they spit. It's the most common question I get.
Do you control your camels mating? Are they neutered or anything or do you just get free baby camels once in a while?
All our boys get the snip, otherwise there extremely aggressive. It why all our camels are so calm.
Were there any humps you had to get over when getting into the business?
You very funny man.
Do you milk your female camels? I have read that people drink camel milk & eat the camel cheese.
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.
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?
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 😊
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?
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.
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?
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.)
Setting aside appearances, what's really going on in this camel's mind in this video?
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..
when you see a lady with a camel toe do you think, that looks nothing like a camel toe?
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.
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.
How difficult is it to handle camels, let alone 36? How much food and water do you go through feeding camels?
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.
Ever had to cut one open and sleep inside to escape a sand storm?
I'm a camel man, not Bear Grylls.
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?
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.
Aww! Did you get the same camels back? That must've been heartbreaking to have them stolen :(
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.
Tears of joy honest to God when we saw him. It was like seeing a ghost.
What's the top speed of a camel, and have you ever tried to joust with these camels?
Top speed: 70km, but impossible to ride at those speed.
Race speed: 20-30km
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.
- how intelligent are they?
- how dangerous can they be if they want?
- working with them, do you end up smelling like camel? :)
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.
Where do you do this? I saw it extensively while in the Middle East but have yet to see it elsewhere.
Broome, Cable Beach in North Western Australia.
What's the biggest challenge with keeping camels? Do they get sick? Do you have to treat them for pests and diseases?
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.
Do any of your camels ever ask you if you know what day it is?
Haha not yet! All though I'm sure some are starting to wonder when the weekend will come.
I've never seen it tbh, I live in quite a remote area of Australia so maybe we don't get it?
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.
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.
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.