Short-range homing in camels: Displacement experiments

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Camels (Camelus dromedarius) are known to have good navigational abilities and can find their home after displacement to far places; however, there are no studies available on the navigational strategies employed by the camels in homing behavior. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate these strategies by displacing female camels equipped with GPS trackers 6 km away from home to totally unfamiliar locations. The experiments comprised displacing nursing or non-nursing female camels 6 km from their living pens to an unfamiliar release site. Some camels were taken to the release site on foot, others were hauled on a truck, both during daytime and nighttime. Displacements journeys were either in a straight direction to the release points, or they consisted of a convoluted path. As a result, camels that had straight outward journeys were able to return home efficiently and rather directly, but camels that had convoluted trips to the release point failed to do so. Moreover, impairing olfactory, visual, and auditory inputs by using mouth/nose muzzles, eye covers and headphones did not affect homing ability. Based on these experiments the most likely hypothesis is that during their small-scale round trips the camels relied on path integration, and that this strategy is disrupted when the camels were subjected to disorientation procedures before release.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberbio058850
JournalBiology Open
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Camelus dromedaries
  • Homing
  • Navigation
  • Path integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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