‘Snow camel’ home safe after being caught off-road during storm

It was like a fable from ‘One Thousand and One Nights,’ the famous Arabian folktale: while an unexpectedly harsh winter storm trapped motorists and stranded commuters in the Pennsylvania region, here comes a camel, doing better than most humans and cars in the tough climate.

There was some concern that the camel’s health may have been endangered by the exposure, but relax: he is back in the barn and doing fine.

It turns out that on Thursday, the camel – “Einstein,” a dromedary – was on his way to the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s “Main Event” at the Kimmel Center, being transported by his owners, the Peaceable Kingdom Petting Zoo.

But as road conditions deteriorated, his owners pulled over on Route 309 near Sellersville, let Einstein out for his own safety, and ultimately decided to turn around and bring the camel back home to his barn.

The Jewish Federation explained the camel’s presence on Twitter and promised treats and a blanket if he made it to Philly.

“This is our camel! His name is Einstein and he’s on his way to our Main Event at the Kimmel Center in Philly tonight. We have treats and a blanket waiting.,” the Jewish Federation said in a tweet after pictures of Einstein were first posted.

They later added: ” Sadly Einstein the camel didn’t make it to the Kimmel Center this evening. His ride got stuck in the weather and decided it was best for him to go home. Thank you for everyone’s concern. Einstein is safe and happy to be headed home to Peaceable Kingdom Petting Zoo.”

The unexpected sighting went viral on social media with many Einstein-spotters posting pictures and videos of him. Some animal-lovers trembled in fear for Einstein’s health, demanding updates to make sure their new favorite camel was doing okay. Their nerves were apparently jangled by Jewish Federation’s wording of their second tweet – particularly the phrase ‘didn’t make it.’

But all is well in camel-land, or rather, the Peaceable Kingdom’s barn: Einstein is fine, his owners said Friday.

“Hello Peaceable Kingdom Petting Zoo followers and all the people interested in Einstein, dubbed the ‘Snow Camel’ by the news outlets,” Peaceable Kingdom Petting Zoo announced in a Facebook post on Friday morning, perhaps in response to the multiple posts on their page demanding updates on Einstein’s health. “Einstein is safe and sound back in the barn with his fellow camel brothers.”

The Peaceable Kingdom added that Einstein was never in harm’s way, nor was he being used to lug the truck through the snow, but was only let out for safety’s sake:

“Contrary to what was reported last night, Einstein was not walking/wandering up and down route 309. Nor did he break out of his trailer after getting stuck and he was not used to pull the van,” Peaceble Kingdom said. “He was purposely taken out of the trailer for safety reasons and was tethered so he could not ‘wander.’ Thank you for all the concern. We are only sorry we could not make it to the Kimmel Center for the Jewish Federation’s event last night.”

Maybe he can make it next year. In the meantime, Peaceable Kingdom posted photos showing their newly famous camel relaxing safely back at home.

Interestingly, while Einstein was identified as a “snow camel,” technically – with one hump – he is the type of camel most often identified as a “dromedary,” Peaceable Kingdom confirmed. 

“Dromedaries are camels. There are two types. Dromedaries (one hump) and Bactrians (two humps),” Peaceable Kingdom told Metro. “A little tidbit on how to remember: if you were to look at a camel the from a side angle, one hump would make a D (dromdedary), two humps a B (Bactrian).”

Not just Einstein, but hundreds of motorists and commuters were stranded to, as the heavier-than-expected snowfall severely slowed traffic and disabled some Regional Rail lines in Philadelphia.

Send your well wishes to Einstein at facebook.com/peaceablekingdompettingzoo/.