Animals

Did You Know? Incredible Guanaco Facts

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The Guanaco (Lama guanicoe) is a predominantly South American native. Apart from the high altitude areas in Peru, they are also found in Bolivia and Chile, from 14763 ft above sea level and more. Like the vicuna, the Guanaco, from the family Camelidae, is a wild lamoid that lives in small groups of females, typically led by a dominant male. From Peru and Bolivia southward to Tierra del Fuego and other islands, the Guanaco extends from the snow line to sea level. The adult is about 43 in tall at the shoulder, with a light brown upper body and a white lower body, with a grayish head. The majority of Guanacos live in herds. When attacked, they flee, and their best hope of fleeing a predator like a mountain lion or fox is to do it all at once. If they run in a group, the predator can become confused, making it difficult to concentrate on any one individual. Guanacos have a variety of modes of transportation. There is nowhere for them to hide in the open areas where they live. Keep reading to know more facts about the Guanaco.

For more relatable content like Guanaco animal facts, check out Bactrian camel and mountain goat facts.

Guanaco

Fact File

What do they prey on?

N/A

What do they eat?

Herbivore

Average litter size?

1

How much do they weigh?

200-310 lb (90-140 kg)

How long are they?

6 ft 11 in - 7 ft 3 in (2.1-2.2 m)

How tall are they?

3 ft 3 in - 4 ft 3 in (1.0-1.3 m)

What do they look like?

Brownish-yellow

Skin Type

Fur

What are their main threats?

Overhunting, habitat loss

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Semiarid areas

Locations

South America

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Mammalia

Scientific Name

Lama guanicoe

Family

Camelidae

Genus

Lama

Guanaco Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Guanaco?

Guanaco is a type of camelid native to South America.

What class of animal does a Guanaco belong to?

Guanaco belongs to the Mammalia class.

How many Guanacos are there in the world?

The total population of Guanacos is 600,000. However, there used to be more than 50 million guanacoes in the world.

Where does a Guanaco live?

Guanacos who are native to South America live in mountains that are above 14763 ft of sea level.  Guanacos are found in desert grassland, forests, and also in shrubland.

What is a Guanaco's habitat?

Guanacos prefer habitats like desert grassland, savanna, and shrubland. The species avoid drought or snow cover areas.

Who do Guanacos live with?

Guanacos are a type of camelids who have a fairly adaptable social structure. Depending upon the food availability, the Guanacos populations are often migratory or sedentary. They are often found with family groups gazing together. A herd of Guanacos consists of a dominant male and a number of females. In few regions, the herd consists of a few males and females in equal numbers.

How long does a Guanaco live?

Guanacos live up to  15-20 years in the wild. In some favorable regions Guanacos live up to 28 years as well.

How do they reproduce?

Guanacos are polygenic species and males of any group are capable of mating with any female. From almost around November to February, the breeding starts when males mate with females. The range of gestation is 11 and half months. A newborn Guanaco is called Chulengos. Chulengos are capable of standing independently within an hour and a half of being born. Chulengos remain with the family up to 11-15 months of age.  

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of Guanaco is Least Concern at the moment. However, the loss of habitat, overhunting, and predators can cause serious harm to the population.

Guanaco Fun Facts

What do Guanacos look like?

Guanacos look like a smaller version of a llama. The coat of the animal is brown and thick. Typically, the chest, rump, and thighs are lighter in color. The darkest area of their body is their neck. They have long legs and a long neck.

Guanaco facts are educational.

How cute are they?

Guanacos are found to be extremely cute for their appearance and behavior. The cutest moment of the animal is when a mother gives birth to a chulengo.

How do they communicate?

Guanacos use a number of vocalizations to communicate and discuss social roles. Alarm calls, which are used to alert other members of the community about possible predators, and clicking sounds, used in the battle between males, are notable examples. When the Guanaco's ears are up, it shows that it is at ease. Ears forward suggest that the Guanaco is frightened, while ears laid flat indicate hostility. A tail pointing down is natural, a tail pointing out indicates a warning Guanaco, and a tail pointing up indicates an aggressive mood. A greeting is a face-to-face experience.

How big is a Guanaco?

The Guanaco who is native to South America has a body length of 6 ft 11 in - 7 ft 3 in (2.1-2.2 m) and a shoulder length of about 3 ft 3 in - 4 ft 3 in (1-1.3 m) which is slightly bigger than that of a llama and vicunas.

How fast can a Guanaco move?

Guanacos can run up to 35 mph or 56 kmph.

How much does a Guanaco weigh?

Both grown males and females weigh around 200-310 lb (90-140 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name for the male and female of this species. They are referred to as male guanaco and female guanaco.

What would you call a baby Guanaco?

Baby Guanacos are called chulengos.

What do they eat?

The Guanaco eats only plants. They consume grasses, shrubs, lichens, berries, flowers, and fungi as food. The bulk of their diet consists of low-quality, tough food. Their advanced digestive system assists in this. They get their water from streams and ponds. Guanacos are highly water-efficient, allowing them to survive in arid conditions. The majority of their water requirements are met by their food.

Are they dangerous?

Guanacos do not cause any harm to humans so they cannot be considered dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, they can be kept as pets. In fact, they are often used as pack animals.

Did you know...

It has been almost 40 million years since the species called camelid was developed. It has been just 3 million years since they started moving from one place to another when the last ice age of the North American population. The animals that moved south were Guanacos, llamas, alpacas and vicunas. Few of the species moved to the eastern part of the world and became camels.

Guanacos have a high-pitched voice. Solitary males are mature males that have territories but no females, and they can have associations of up to three.

The maximum number of Guanacos live in Argentina. However,  a small number of Guanacos live in Falkland islands.

Guanacos have wide eyes and thick lashes to shield themselves from dust and dirt whipped up by strong winds. Their ears are prominent and pointed. They are similar to camels but do not have humps on their backs. The only thing they have in common with camels is their feet.

Naming the Guanaco

The name 'guanaco' which is pronounced as gvuh-naa-koh comes from its scientific name Lama guanicoe. The name means a cud-chewing South American artiodactyl mammal.  

Comparisons with llamas

Guanacos are smaller than the llama. The color of llamas and Guanacos also varies significantly; llamas may be black, gray-brown, while the majority of Guanacos have backs that are brown in color with straight ears that are considered to be smaller than llama. The size of the llama is the best way to classify it. Llamas are by far the largest South American Camelid, reaching up to 440 lb while other members of the same family weigh less than that. A llama has a lifespan of 15-30 years. Llamas can be considered as the domesticated version of the Guanaco, and the two animals share the same coarse fur, which was considered an elite form of undercoat. Llamas have been used primarily as pack animals since their domestication about 5000 years ago. As far as Guanacos are concerned, they are mainly found exclusively in South America. The wool of Guanaco is considered to be better than the wool of llama.  

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including pudu, or plains zebra.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Guanaco coloring pages.

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