Mystery of pregnant camel Doris who did not have a mate

Farmers in Richmond have been left stunned after Doris the camel gave birth despite only having another female for company

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The Independent Online

A pair of bemused farmers have been left scratching their heads after one of their camels, who has not been near a male for more than a year, gave birth on Thursday.

Farmer Andrew and Maria Henshaw had no idea that Doris the camel, who lives with her half-sister Delilah near Richmond, North Yorkshire, was pregnant until she began to calve.

Mr Henshaw said he had been up early lambing when an experienced livestockman came running over to tell him one of the camels was giving birth.

"I said 'you're joking' when he told me," Mr Henshaw said. "By the time we got there the feet and head were out and so we gave it a tug and it came out.

"This was totally out of the blue. When he was first born he sounded like a dinosaur with the noise he was making, like something off Jurassic Park.

"Now a few hours later, he looks like a giraffe with his long neck, or the Loch Ness monster because of his two floppy humps."

The family, who runs the Mainsgill Farm Shop, plan to keep the male calf and are running a competition to name him. Mr Henshaw, a 46-year-old father of three, said the family bought Doris and Delilah to replace Kevin the camel when he died last year, as he had been so popular with visitors

He now believes Doris may have been impregnated before she was brought from a farm in Cornwall to North Yorkshire.

He said camels' gestation period can last 12-15 months and he believed that a llama giving birth in the next pen a few days ago may have spurred Doris on.

Additional reporting by PA