Cama (animal)

Cama (animal)
Scientific classificationEdit this classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Camelidae
Subfamily: Camelinae
Hybrid: Camelus dromedarius♂ × Lama glama

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]


The crossing was initially reported by The Ogdensburg Journal in 1871.[3]

The dromedary has 74 diploid chromosomes, the same as other camelids. The autosomes consist of five pairs of small to medium-sized metacentrics and submetacentrics.[4] The X chromosome is the largest in the metacentric and submetacentric group. There are 31 pairs of acrocentrics.[4] The dromedary's karyotype is similar to that of the Bactrian camel.[5]

As an adult dromedary camel can weigh up to six times as much as a llama, 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.[6][7]

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 gentler, as was hoped for.[7] The second cama, a female named Kamilah, was successfully born in 2002. As of April 2008, five camas had been produced.[8]

Food and drink[edit]

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

Comparison of camelids[edit]

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 each major groups of camelids, the cama marks the first instance of cross-breeding between the two groups. The following is a table comparing some of the characteristics of camelids.[1][9][10][11][12][13][14][15]

Common name Scientific name Life span Adult weight Height at shoulder Length of fur Load-bearing capacity
Dromedary camel Camelus dromedarius 40–50 years 450–600 kg (990–1,320 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 450–1,000 kg (990–2,200 lb) 160–180 cm (5.2–5.9 ft) 25 cm (9.8 in) 150–270 kg (330–600 lb)
Wild Bactrian camel Camelus ferus 40–50 years 380–820 kg (840–1,810 lb)
Llama Lama glama 20–30 years 130–272 kg (287–600 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 46–90 kg (101–198 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 70–140 kg (150–310 lb) 105–130 cm (3½–4¼ ft) 5 cm (2.0 in) 15–20 kg (33–44 lb)
Cama Camelus dromedarius × Lama glama Unknown 50–70 kg (110–150 lb)[citation needed] 125–140 cm (4 1/10-4 3/4 ft) 6 cm (2.4 in) 25–30 kg (55–66 lb)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Meet Rama the cama ... BBC". BBC News. 1998-01-21. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
  2. ^ Duncan Campbell (2002-07-15). "Bad karma for cross llama without a hump". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2009-03-10. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  4. ^ a b Benirschke, K.; Hsu, T.C. (1974). An Atlas of Mammalian Chromosomes. 8. New York, USA: Springer. pp. 153–6. ISBN 978-1-4615-6432-4.
  5. ^ Taylor, K.M.; Hungerford, D.A.; Snyder, R.L.; Ulmer, F.A.Jr. (1968). "Uniformity of karyotypes in the Camelidae". Cytogenetic and Genome Research. 7 (1): 8–15. doi:10.1159/000129967. PMID 5659175.
  6. ^ Fahmy, Miral (21 March 2002). "'Cama' camel/llama hybrids born in UAE research centre". Science in the News. The Royal Society of New Zealand. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Xanadu Farms". Xanadu Farms. 2002-02-27. Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
  8. ^ "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.
  9. ^ World Book Encyclopedia. World Book. 1998. ISBN 978-0-7166-0098-5.
  10. ^ Great Book of the Animal Kingdom. New York: Crescent Books. 1993. pp. 328–330. ISBN 978-0-517-08801-2.
  11. ^ Kindersley, Dorling (2005). Camels and Relatives, Animal The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife. pp. 236–237. ISBN 978-0-7894-7764-4.
  12. ^ Dil M. Makhdoomi, Mohsin A. Gazi, Showkat ul Nabi, Shakeel Ahmed, 2013, Animal Science - Morphometric studies on adult double humped camel of Ladakh, India, Emirates Journal of Food and Agriculture, 2013: 25 (7), pp.544-548, doi: 10.9755/ejfa.v25i7.15999
  13. ^ Nature, 2020, Camel Fact Sheet, PBS
  14. ^ Bactrian Camel on
  15. ^ Frequently Asked Questions - Blue Moon Ranch Alpacas