Mange is a fairly common problem with camels, dogs, and a few other animals.
It’s caused by a skin mite that burrows into the skin and results in itching, loss of appetite, hair loss, and white sores.
This condition is very difficult for the camel and can ultimately lead to death if untreated.
The good news is that mange is easy to diagnose and treat, so you don’t often see mangy camels in zoos.
Our guess is that you visited the zoo in the spring or summer when the weather is warmer, and what you’re seeing isn’t mange at all but the normal shedding of the camels’ winter coats.
It can look alarming if you don’t know what’s happening. A whole chunk of hair can hang off the camel for quite some time, making it look as though the large beast is falling apart.
Camels molt or shed once a year.
Camels can lose as much as five pounds of hair in a season. Believe it or not, this wool is considered valuable as clothing fiber.
What looks so grotesque when falling off the camel looks pretty when it’s woven into a coat or a kicky beret.