Camel kills 2 during mating season

A 72-year-old former bank president who ran a camel farm and her neighbor were trampled to death Saturday afternoon in Wichita County by a male camel in rut.

The neighbor, Mark Mere, 53, was helping Peggye McNair with her three camels by trying to break through the ice in a water trough.

Camels can drink 30 gallons of water in 13 minutes, according to one of the largest science sites on the Internet, But water was the last thing on the mind of this camel, who was ready for mating season. Camels are aggressive when they are in rut, because their instinct is to compete for females, said Wichita County sheriff’s Deputy Melvin Joiner.

The camel trampled Mere and then McNair as she tried to help him, Deputy Melvin Joiner said.

The tragedy is not the first of its kind: A 60-year-old Australian woman was killed by a pet camel given to her as birthday present in 2007 when it knocked her to the ground and then lay on top of her in “mating behavior,” The Associated Press reported.

Mere’s and McNair’s bodies were sent to Tarrant County for autopsy.

The camel was put down at the family’s request. — Monica S. Nagy