Can Camels Eat Cactus?
We have the Answer and the Science behind it!

Ever wondered what camels eat in the desert? Keep reading to find out!

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Jimena Bolívar

April 04, 2021


Can Camels Eat Cactus? We have the Answer and the Science behind it! Thumbnail

Introduction

In short, yes, camels can and do eat cacti.

Everyone knows a few things about camels; they live in the desert, they store fat in their humps, and they can go weeks without food or water.

Picture of a Camel

But they have to eat eventually, right? And seeing as there aren’t many culinary options in the desert it makes sense that everyone’s favourite desert herbivore would snack on the most recognizable of desert vegetation.

After all, cactus’ ability to, like camels, withstand blistering temperatures and long periods of time without water makes the pair the perfect match.

However, despite being absolutely adorable on windowsills and trendy t-shirts, cacti aren’t the friendliest of the succulents, their thick outer layer and spiky thorns seem to scream DO NOT TOUCH and definitely DO NOT EAT.

Picture of a Small, Potted Cactus

So how and why do camels eat cacti?

Well, I’ve done the research and it’s fascinating to say the least.

Their mouths are protected.

Camels mouths have hard palates and are lined with hardened ridges made from keratin called papillae.

Papillae serves two purposes; it protects the camel’s mouth from spiky thorns, and it guides those thorns down the camel’s throat safely.

Fun Fact!

Like papillae, our hair and nails are made from keratin.

Camels are Ruminants.

Ruminants are herbivores that acquire nutrients from plants by fermenting them in another stomach before digestion.

Did You Know?

Other ruminants include sheep, deer and giraffes.

Other Cactus Consumers.

Surprisingly, camels are not the only animals who eat cacti.

Peccaries eat cacti due to their high-water content, and in some countries experiencing drought, farmers mix cacti into their cattle feed.

Humans also eat Cacti.

The consumption of prickly pear cactus, also known as Nopal in Mexico, has become increasingly popular in recent years due in part to its health benefits.

Picture of Prickly Pear Cactus

In addition to being an antiviral, cactus is high in antioxidants and fibre and has been reported to regulate blood sugar and reduce cholesterol.

Follow this link for all the ways you can prepare and enjoy cactus.

How to Eat Prickly Pear? Here's The Right Way to Enjoy Cactus Fruit!

Are you confused about how to eat prickly pear or cactus fruit? Don’t worry! This post will tell you the right way to eat cactus fruit and reap its benefits.

Warning!

There are many kinds of cacti and being able to tell between the edible and non-edible is necessary for safe consumption.

Fun Fact!

Dragon Fruit comes from the Hylocereus Cactus.

Picture of Dragon Fruit

Conclusion

So there you have it, camels can and do eat cacti.

Thanks for reading! I hope this camel-cacti conversation has left you content!

Jimena Bolívar Picture

By Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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Jimena Bolívar Picture

Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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