If you love animals and have a few thousand pounds and a field to spare, then a Cornish farmer wants to hear from you.
Stuart Oates is selling a herd of camels at his farm near Helston.
The 28-year-old property developer-cum-cameleer is selling 14 of the animals in total, from Rosuick Organic Farm. The eldest, Myrtle, is on the market for £13,000, while seven-year-old Doris will set you back £12,500. Oates, who studied at agriculture college before acquiring his first Bactrian camel seven years ago, says the humped beasts make a fine and “friendly” investment for the right buyer.
“Frank’s over two metres tall just to his hump so this is not something to take lightly,” he told The Independent.
Before taking in a camel, you need a Dangerous Wild Animals license, which costs between £50 and £500 – and plenty of space. “They’re browsers and eat anything with a spike on it. They do like hay and grass as well, and sugar beet,” Oates explains. Though not malicious, they could accidentally crush a person.
These hardy creatures originate from the Gobi desert, where temperatures fall to -40C at night and up to 50C. “The only thing they don’t like is when it rains. But they are very sensible animals and go in and out of their shed as they please,” Oates says.
They are sociable, too. “The sheep don’t take any notice of them, but the cows the first time they saw them screeched to a halt. Their eyes were out on stalks, they’d never seen anything like it. But now they all graze happily in the field together.”
Oates started off with six camels so as to introduce treks on his family farm in Gloucestershire. The number has risen to 20 and Oates wants to scale back his herd.
He is selling the animals in pairs. The cheapest, a one-year-old male, is on for £7,000, and their life expectancy is between 40 and 50 years. “They’re certainly not the sort of thing to consider if you’re used to cats and dogs or farm animals. But if you’re used to horses or farm animals these are lovely animals, fantastically friendly; if you stand in the field they will come over and put their head on your shoulder for a stroke,” Stuart Oates says.