Are camels stupid – or are they just pretending?

“You stupid camel!” – A proverbial insult, which one hears not rarely.

However, one gets already sometimes a confirmation of this prejudice of the “stupid camel”, like this morning with my visit in the nature zoo. One of these animals was lying comfortably in the sun in the middle of the enclosure. A colleague came from the left and wanted probably also to the right in the sun. Now this lazy fellow lay there on his probably ancestral walk and did not move a millimeter.

Now one could think that the walker would choose a small detour, passing left or right. No, his camel colleague was on his track and he wanted to keep it.

Sometimes you see camels in the nature zoo, how they come very close to each other. However, this is done to secure their offspring, or more precisely, from behind.

But our “dumb camel” climbed over the other animal lying lazily from the front and tried to coordinate his legs. Finally it worked somehow and both went peacefully apart. Looking back, the recumbent camel seemed to call out, “You oaf!”

Which it was biologically right about, because the two-humped camel is also called a bactrian camel.

Back to the “stupid camel.”

Let’s ask Alfred Brehm, the 19th century German zoologistand writer. His name became synonymous with popular scientific zoological literature through the book title “Brehms Tierleben.”

This “expert” attributed to the camel a “conspicuously ugly” body and a “frighteningly stupid expression,” so that it could only be a “dull creature.”

However, Brehm has long since ceased to be the ultimate among expert biologists. Already for many decades researchers succeeded again and again to prove that camels are just not stupid, but, completely on the contrary, very intelligent.

It’s easy to fall back into old habits: when the camel kept trying to outrun his fellow camel, I habitually told him, “Don’t be so stupid, you oaf!”

While the camel men acted quite “stupidly”, mare “Shana” rested with her two weeks all young stallion next door.