Nyles spent the holiday weekend learning the ropes on a new farm.
Luckily he was met by one face that looked sort of like his.
The 8-month-old dromedary camel found himself at Scatter Joy Acres, a 26-acre farm near 49th Street and Newport Avenue in Omaha, on Sunday.
Nyles was welcomed with open hooves by the farm’s other one-humped mammal, Zebediah.
The local farm provides animal-assisted therapy to seniors, veterans, disabled individuals and disadvantaged youth. It’s home to nearly 100 animals, including goats, sheep, horses, alpacas, donkeys, pigs and, now, two camels.
The pair have become fast friends, rarely leaving one another’s side, said Joy Bartling, executive director and founder of the farm.
“These two were definitely happy to see each other,” Bartling said. “Zebediah was like, ‘Yay. I have someone who looks like myself here.’ ”
Zebediah, who’s a little over a year old and a darker brown than Nyles, affectionately put his neck around the new camel and gave friendly nudges in the direction of their barn and feeding areas.
Zebediah often goes on walkabouts, where he cruises public sidewalks to visit and pose for selfies with people. The walks are to raise awareness for the therapy programs at the farm. He’s been spotted at Midtown Crossing, in downtown Omaha and in downtown Papillion.
The camels will also be used in programs for at-risk youth, ideal because of the way the animals like to be engaged, Bartling said.
“There’s becoming more demand for our programs, not just with camels, but with animal-assisted therapy, because animals make a difference in people’s lives,” Bartling said.
Nyles is expected to join Zebediah on walkabouts once he acclimates to city life and human interaction. Nyles has more spunk than his new friend. While the two camels come from the same Colorado farm, they are from different breeding stock.
“Nyles is still a little ornery, just like toddlers. They test you a little further,” Bartling said. “He seems to be more of a spitfire, but that’s OK.”
And speaking of spit, camels use that only as a defense mechanism when they feel threatened, Bartling said. Zebediah, and so far Nyles, has never spit on anyone.
“They’re used to people,” Bartling said. “You want to be loved and hugged by your family members. They want to be the same way.”
In addition to animal-assisted therapy, the farm will also be open as a petting zoo this summer. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.