The Wesleys have what they like to call a new yard ornament.
Passersby may see the addition moseying around the field off of Hardesty Road next to a Sasquatch figure, and the Wesleys welcome the onlookers.
It’s not everyday you see a camel in Bethel Acres, Oklahoma, after all.
“People stop all the time,” Jim Wesley, 76, said. “I heard a lady on the Internet say he had his head in her car.”
Joe Cool camel is the newest addition to the Wesley home off of Hardesty Road. Their 100-acre property is home to other creatures like horses and cattle, and at one time draft horses and emus, but the camel is probably the most exotic one to date.
“Well, I (saw) him on the Internet and thought, ‘hey, I like that camel, but what would I do with it?’” Jim said. “I called the old boy, said, ‘I like your camel.’ We (talked) about it, next day I called him back and offered him a little less than what he reasonably wanted and (he) said he’ll take it. I said, ‘if you’ll deliver it,’ he said ‘I’ll deliver it.’ I said, ‘okay.’
“(The wife) told me to go ahead and do it, so hello camel.”
Joe Cool arrived to his front lawn spot about two months ago. The dromedary, also known as Arabian or one-hump, camel is about 3 years old.
According to Jim and his son Randy, Joe Cool won’t be viable to ride until he’s 4. Until then, the Wesleys, with the help of a trainer, are teaching Joe Cool to lay down and walk with them.
“Kind of what we gathered, he’s just been sold and nobody’s really shown him any attention until we got him,” Randy said. “One way or another, he’s going to be a pet. He’s just something different. Dad likes that kind of stuff.”
Jim said he’s still trying to figure out why he got the camel. The one-humped creature can grow to about 6.5 feet at the shoulder and 880 to 1,325 pounds, according to Live Science.
The Wesleys discovered that despite their large stature, camels don’t require too much in the way of food or water.
Randy, who said he’s the one that usually plays with him, said Joe Cool eats about 2.5 pounds of feed twice a day, in addition to hay and treats like apples, carrots and the trees surrounding his part of the land.
“He’ll come to feed — he loves carrots, he loves apples,” Jim said. “That’s his thing. I can put an apple or a piece of a carrot in my mouth and he’ll take it out of my mouth.”
According to National Geographic, camels can store up to 80 pounds of fat in their humps. When they have access to little food or water, the camel breaks down the fat into water and energy. However, they are able to drink about 30 gallons of water in 13 minutes.
Camels are also herd animals. According to the San Diego Zoo, the typical structure is a dominant male who leads the herd while all the other males form what’s called a bachelor herd. However, Joe Cool is a herd of one.
“He’s not scared of other animals, but other animals are scared of him,” Randy said. “He’s standing by himself right now because we don’t want him to buddy up with somebody besides us. If he gets in a pasture with a llama or something like that, that’ll be his buddy and not us. Right now he’s coming to us.
“He wants to be friendly.”
Jim said the only thing that has surprised him about Joe Cool so far is he isn’t as gentle as he thought he would be.
“I would like him to be gentle enough to do Christmas scenes and stuff like that,” Jim said. “I’ve got him now where I can rub his head and mess with him a little bit. As long as you’ve got an apple or carrot, you don’t have to worry, he’ll be there.”
However, the Wesleys ask that no one feed Joe Cool if they stop by for a quick look. Not just because he’s on a “special diet,” as the sign reads, but also for people’s safety.
“He’s never bit us, but we don’t want him to bite nobody either,” Randy said. “He’s never tried. He makes funny noises — he growls, does this big old roar. But he’s never tried to do anything to hurt us or nothing. It scares you. When he first roared at me, I was like, ‘I’m getting out of the trailer.’”
Although the Wesleys said they still don’t know too much about taking care of camels and are self-proclaimed non-camel people, they’re doing their best.
“He’ll probably end up with another one,” Randy said.
His main concern now, though, is trying to keep his dad away from buying a zebra, and Jim Wesley wants a zebra.