Guanaco Facts

Guanaco Facts
Guanaco is a member of a camel family. Its closest relatives are lamas, camels and alpacas. Guanacos are native to South America. They can be found in Argentina, Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Bolivia and Ecuador. Guanaco inhabits scrublands, savannas, grasslands, deserts, forests and rocky areas, usually at the high altitude (up to 13 000 feet). Habitat loss, as a result of human activity, is the main factor that affects number of guanacos in the wild. Luckily, population of guanacos is still stable and they are not listed as endangered species.
Interesting Guanaco Facts:
Guanaco is a medium sized animal. It can reach height of 3.5 to 4 feet and weigh up to 300 pounds.
Body of guanaco is covered with thick, wooly coat that can be light brown or reddish-brown in color. Body coloration provides camouflage (color of the coat matches the color of their environment).
Guanaco has large head with pointed ears, very long neck, long legs and short tail. Position of the tail (upward or downward) informs other members of the group about upcoming danger or it is used as a sign of aggression (during fights).
Since guanaco lives in windy area, it has thick eyelashes that protect eyes from dust and dirt. Two padded feet allow easy movement across the gravel in the rocky environment.
Guanacos are herbivores (plant-eaters). They usually consume grass.
Main predators of guanacos are mountain lions.
Guanacos are fast animals that can accomplish speed of 35 miles per hour. They are also good swimmers. These features are essential for survival since their habitat does not offer place for hiding.
Just like llamas, guanacos are famous for spitting. This funny habit can be seen when guanaco is irritated or annoyed.
Guanaco has four times more red blood cells than humans. This is specific adaptation to the life at high altitude with low level of oxygen in the air.
Guanacos communicate via different type of sounds. They produce high-pitched sounds, snorts and shrieks to inform other members of the group about upcoming danger. Dung is also used for communication: it marks territory of each group.
Guanacos live in family groups composed of usually 10 animals, including one dominant male, females and their offspring. Young males live in large bachelor herds of up to 50 animals.
At the age of 5 years, young males fight for dominance and opportunity to create their own herd. During the fight, males will try to bite front legs of their opponents.
Mating season lasts from November to February (summer months in South America).
Pregnancy in females lasts 11 months and ends up with one baby, called chulengo. Baby is able to walk from the moment of birth.
Guanaco can survive from 15 to 20 years in the wild and up to 26 years in captivity.

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