Nature Field Note

What do we see in nature?


Jordan is home to many plants and animals. It has dogs and cats just like in the US, but it also has cacti and camels in its desert. Be sure to check out my video of Wadi Rum, a desert that used to be completely underwater. Sneak peek: I’m riding a camel!julia 1


Although Jordan is mostly desert, there are still plenty of animals and plants to see! I have seen lizards, mice, cats, dogs and camels all around Jordan. Jordan is also home to plants such as roses, tulips, mint, various vegetables and cacti! Have you ever seen a real cactus before? They are very prickly and it’s painful when you touch them.

Jordan has a variety of climates, which means that all sorts of plants and animals can be found. The north is great for growing olives because it gets a lot of rain during the year. The desert areas are home to some herbs, which are great for the Bedouins to make tea. Bedouins are the people who do not live in a city or town. Bedouins also have many farm animals such as sheep, goats, chickens, cows and maybe even donkeys. They rely on their animals for food.

julia 2For this article, I am going to focus on the camel. Camels have been important to Jordanians since the time before Jordan was even a country! Yesterday, I visited the Jordan Museum and saw a clay sculpture of a camel from 300 BC. Also, when I visited Wadi Rum, a part of the desert that used to be underwater, I saw pictures of camels carved into the rocks from a long time ago.

What does this creature or plant look like?

Camels are very large animals. I am 5 feet and 4 inches tall and my head comes to their stomach when standing. I can’t even reach the top of their backs with my arms stretched high above my head.  Camels can be up to 7 feet tall! The Arabian Camel, the ones I have seen, have one hump and can weigh up to 1,600 pounds.[1] Camels are furry, but their hair is very rough. They have long tails, long legs and long necks. Since they are so tall, they have to sit down so you can climb on top of them. They have large teeth, which are useful for pulling grass and plants out of the sand to eat. The only negative thing about camels is their smell. Camels smell pretty bad. I don’t know if that is their natural odor or if it is because they don’t bathe. Can you imagine trying to wash a camel?julia 3

How did I feel when I saw it?

My school program went to Wadi Rum in southern Jordan for a weekend trip. Part of the trip was riding a camel. I was really excited to ride a camel in the desert. All of the camels were sitting down, waiting for us to get on them. I walked over to a camel and he started making very loud sounds. To me, it sounded like he didn’t want carry anyone, which made me a little nervous. I thought, “What if my camel somehow kicks me off or makes me fall off while I’m on him?”

Nonetheless, I climbed up on him and he stood up. I was quite high off the ground. When we started to walk, I realized why my camel might not want to go on our journey. He was last in a line of three camels. My camel didn’t like to be last. I am the same way! He kept trying to pass the camel in front of us but since he was tied to the back of that camel, he was not able to pass. In general, riding a camel is slightly uncomfortable. I did not have a backrest, so my back kept hitting a small knob, which hurt slightly. Camels are also slow moving. Local Bedouins walked alongside our camels to direct them.

Where does it live?

The Arabian Camel can be found all over north Africa and in the Arabian Peninsula. Do you know where Saudi Arabia is? The Arabian Peninsula includes Saudi Arabia and many countries just north of it. Camels, in general, can also be found in South East Asia and Australia.julia 5

How does it use its environment to survive?

The camel is a very unique animal because it can survive in the desert for a long time. The desert doesn’t have a lot of water, as you may know. It is particularly difficult to come across water in Jordan. Jordan is ranked 4th for countries who do not have sufficient water access in the world. This means that only three other countries in the entire world have less water than they do. Could you imagine walking around the desert without at least five giant water bottles?

Luckily, camels don’t need water as frequently as humans do because their bodies can store water for a long time. Did you know camels can drink up to 20 gallons of water at once?[2] The water they drink gets stored in their bloodstream. That is why they don’t need to drink water often.

Camels’ nostrils can close to stop sand from getting in. They also have long eyebrows and eyelashes to protect their eyes. Sometimes when it gets really windy, sand blows everywhere and it hurts! Camels are lucky to have automatic protectors in their body.

What can harm this creature? Are we worried about it?

The camel is like any animal and can get sick or die of hunger or thirst. Camels are also hunted because their meat is considered a delicacy by some people. However, camels are hurt most by poisonous animals in the desert. For example, camels can easily die of a bite from a poisonous snake. The Bedouins traveling with camels are always aware of their surroundings because camels are incredibly important to everyday life. Have you ever seen a poisonous snake? Bedouins must be very skilled at looking out for poisonous snakes.

[1] National Geographic. “Arabian (Dromedary) Camel.”

[2] Library of Congress. Everyday Mysteries.


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