Book Direct For Best Rates

Mona the Camel

Sometimes small communities can produce some pretty outlandish “characters,” and like them or not, they become a part of the “flavor” of the island. But there’s one character here that casts a spell on pretty much everyone who meets her – she’s our beloved dromedary, Mona.

Mona - Photo Courtesy Kathleen Ballard
Mona – Photo Courtesy Kathleen Ballard

Actually, she doesn’t belong to us, she belongs to islander Steve King, who bought her after seeing an ad in Little Nickel, but she’s become a favorite of every island resident and visitor alike. And there’s the problem:

People want to show Mona how much they like her, and the only way they know how to do that is to feed her. But this winter, Mona developed a skin disorder, due in part to diet. Her caretaker, Gregory Scherzinger, suspects there are other factors at play with local wildlife, particularly deer. None-the-less, now that Mona’s hair is growing in again, we would like to caution all of Mona’s visitors to please use sense when giving Mona treats: nix the popcorn, hotdogs, potato chips, candy and all other junk food. According to Gregory, “She’ll pretty much eat anything (hats are a favorite grab) though she would only eat that if she was really hungry. As camels are grazers, good grass is what does best for her. She loves apples and potatoes, though I don’t feed her more than one or two apples when I do, as they have a lot of sugar in them and [are] not that great for her in quantities. Carrots are good.”

Gregory also cautions that Mona is very friendly, but “one should always be conscious of her. She is a big animal and has her own mind. If she doesn’t like something she can grab pretty hard with her mouth, so anyone feeding her or posing for a picture with their back turned while facing the camera needs to be aware and just pay attention.”

If you haven’t met Mona yet, she’s usually hanging out in the pasture on Roche Harbor Road across from San Juan Vineyards. Bring carrots!

You can visit Mona online, To read how she came to San Juan Island, see the San Juan Journal article

Recent Posts

One of Our Favorite Hikes for Fall: Afterglow Vista

Afterglow Vista, also known as the McMillin Memorial Mausoleum, is one of the best things to do in Roche Harbor—especially as we near Halloween—as the trail leads you through an ancient cemetery up to a haunting open-air memorial to the family of John S. McMillin, a leader in the limestone

Read More »

Day Trip: Things to do on Orcas Island

This horseshoe-shaped addition to the San Juan Island archipelago is not only beautiful but there is also a ton of fun and adventurous things to do on Orcas Island. As the third stop from Anacortes on the ferry boat, Orcas Island is the largest and perhaps the most visited of

Read More »

Your Guide to the San Juan Island National Park

The San Juan Island National Park comprises two historic properties on opposite ends of the island: English Camp on the north and American Camp to the south. These two camps now stand as a monument to an incident in 1859 that nearly led the United States and Great Britain to

Read More »
Scroll to Top

Recognized by Travel & Leisure Magazine

We have been humbly recognized by Travel & Leisure Magazine as the best place to stay when visiting Friday Harbor and San Juan Island.

Get our Travel Planner to the San Juan Islands.  20+ pages outlining the Best of the Best!