Cama (animal)

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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Camelidae
Species: Camelus dromedarius × Lama glama
Binomial name

A cama is a hybrid between a male dromedary camel and a female llama, and has been produced via artificial insemination at the Camel Reproduction Centre in Dubai.[1] The first cama was born on January 14, 1998. The aim was to create an animal capable of higher wool production than the llama, with the size and strength of a camel and a cooperative temperament.[2]


An adult dromedary camel can weigh up to six times as much as a llama, so the hybrid needs to be produced by artificial insemination. Insemination of a female llama with sperm from a male dromedary camel has been the only successful combination. Inseminating a female camel with llama sperm has not produced viable offspring.[3][4]

The first cama showed signs of becoming sexually mature at age four, when he showed a desire to breed with a female guanaco and a female llama. He was also a behavioral disappointment, displaying an extremely poor temperament. A more recent story suggests that his behavior is generally more gentle, as was hoped for.[4] The second cama, a female named Kamilah, was successfully born in 2002. As of April 2008, five camas have been produced.[5]

Food and drink

Much like camels, camas are herbivores that eat shrubs and other plant matter. They can drink large amounts of water at a time, then survive with little or no water for long periods.

Comparison of camelids

The camelid family consists of the Old World camelids (the Dromedary Camels, Bactrian Camels, and Wild Bactrian Camels) and the New World camelids (the llama, vicuna, Suri alpaca, Huacaya Alpaca, and guanaco). Though there have been successful and fertile hybrids within both major groups of camelids, the cama marks the first instance of cross-breeding. The following is a table comparing some of the characteristics of camelids.[1][6][7][8]

Common name Scientific name Life span Adult weight Height at shoulder Length of fur Load-bearing capacity
Dromedary Camel Camelus dromedarius 40–50 years 450–540 kg (990–1,190 lb) 180–210 cm (5.9–6.9 ft) 7.5–10 cm (3.0–3.9 in) 150–230 kg (330–510 lb)
Bactrian Camel Camelus bactrianus 40–50 years 450–680 kg (990–1,500 lb) 180–210 cm (5.9–6.9 ft) 25 cm (9.8 in) 150–270 kg (330–600 lb)
Llama Lama glama 20–30 years 130–200 kg (290–440 lb) 90–120 cm (3.0–3.9 ft) 8–25 cm (3.1–9.8 in) 30–50 kg (66–110 lb)
Vicuña Vicugna vicugna 20–25 years 35–65 kg (77–143 lb) 70–90 cm (2½–3 ft) 1–4 cm (0.39–1.57 in) 10–15 kg (22–33 lb)
Alpaca Vicugna pacos 15–20 years 46–84 kg (101–185 lb) 90–120 cm (3.0–3.9 ft). 20–40 cm (7.9–15.7 in) 10–20 kg (22–44 lb)
Guanaco Lama guanicoe 20–25 years 70–90 kg (150–200 lb) 105–120 cm (3½–4 ft) 5 cm (2.0 in) 15–20 kg (33–44 lb)
Cama Camelus dromedarius × Lama glama 30–40 years 50–70 kg (110–150 lb) 125–140 cm (4 1/10-4 3/4 ft) 6 cm (2.4 in) 25–30 kg (55–66 lb)


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Meet Rama the cama ... BBC". BBC News. 1998-01-21. Retrieved 2012-08-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Duncan Campbell (2002-07-15). "Bad karma for cross llama without a hump". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-03-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> mirror
  3. Fahmy, Miral (21 March 2002). "'Cama' camel/llama hybrids born in UAE research centre". Science in the News. The Royal Society of New Zealand. Retrieved 28 November 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Xanadu Farms". Xanadu Farms. 2002-02-27. Retrieved 2012-08-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "World's First Camel And Llama Cross Now Has Friends". April 8, 2008. Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. World Book Encyclopedia. World Book. 1998. ISBN 0-7166-0098-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Great Book of the Animal Kingdom. New York: Crescent Books. 1993. pp. 328–330. ISBN 0-517-08801-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Kindersley, Dorling (2005). Camels and Relatives, Animal The Definitive Visual Guide to the World’s Wildlife. pp. 236–237. ISBN 0-7894-7764-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>