When Aladdin hears the familiar hum of the engine and tires rolling across the gravel path, the 7 foot tall camel stands and hurries to the fence. Having stayed at Mount Vernon every holiday season since he was eleven months old, the camel knows the approaching vehicle is bringing him food. Lisa Pregent (above) is a member of the Mount Vernon livestock team and the resident camel connoisseur. She has worked at the estate for 21 years and has taken care of Aladdin since his first visit nine years ago. “He’s not like any other animal on the estate,” Lisa said.
Lisa and the livestock team begin their day long before visitors arrive. They feed the 1400 lb. animal at 7:30 a.m., and he eats 4-6 pounds of grain throughout the day. However, Aladdin has a notorious sweet tooth and eats a “sweet feed” containing molasses every afternoon. As Aladdin finished the handful of feed in Lisa’s hand, he reached over the fence and grabbed the bucket with his mouth, trying to rip it out of Lisa’s hands. Although he was unsuccessful this time, Lisa shared, “Once he reached into the Gator, grabbed a bucket of water, and dumped it on himself… he’s such a goof.”
See Aladdin on our Camel Cam
Aladdin has lived in Virginia his entire life and is well-acclimated to the cold weather. “I brought Aladdin home at 3 months old and took on the ‘mothering’ duties of bottle feeding and play teaching,” said Jennifer Cossette, Aladdin’s owner. As part of the Pony to Go family, Aladdin lives in Berryville, VA with an emu and miniature horse. “He seems to enjoy the company and always comes to the fence to greet visitors,” said Jennifer, “He definitely has the personality of a dog, coming when you call him and eager to give kisses.”
The rest of the year, Aladdin entertains at birthday parties and weddings. Although he is not the camel in Geico’s “Hump Day” commercial, he has made special appearances at Geico events.
Come visit Aladdin at Mount Vernon now until January 6th or check him out on the Camel Cam at www.mountvernon.org/CamelCam.