Species profile

Name: the guanaco (Lama guanicoe) is one of two wild camelids that can be found in South America – the other being the vicuna. Guanacos were thought to be the parent species of the domesticated llamas and alpacas but DNA research has show that vicuna are the most likely ancestor.

Appearance: guanacos have grey faces and small, straight ears. Their light brown fur is prized for its soft, warm feel and is valued second only to that of the vicuna.

Size: guanacos reach between 1.0 to 1.2 metres at the shoulder and weigh 90 to 140 kg.

Diet: they are herbivorous and mainly eat grasses and shrubs as well as lichens, succulents, and cacti when other food is scarce.

Did you know: guanacos are often found at high altitudes, up to 4,000 meters above sea level. In order to survive in the low oxygen levels a teaspoon of guanaco blood contains about 68 billion red blood cells – four times that of a human.

Location: guanacos inhabit the Pampas plains and mountainous regions of South America. They are found in the altiplano of Peru, Bolivia, and Chile, as well as in Patagonia and a small population in Paraguay.

Best places to see guanaco

According to reports submitted to WildSide, the best places to see guanacos are as follows:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Torres del Paine
very high
very good
Valdes Peninsula
very good

Photo credit: Thorge under a Creative Commons license from Pixabay