Guanacos (Lama guanicoe) are considered the wild relatives of the domestic llamas and alpacas. They are distant cousins of the camels of Africa and Asia. Like camels, guanacos have adapted to living in dry areas, although their preferred habitat - alpine grassland - is not as hot as the habitats of most camels.

Like their domestic relatives, guanacos are fast runners. They have more haemoglobin (oxygen-carrying pigment) in their red blood cells than any other mammal. This allows them to survive at altitude.

Guanacos mainly graze on grass, but they also pluck leaves from shrubs. They live in herds of about 15 individuals. Each herd is controlled by one adult male. Once a young guanaco reaches adulthood, it is chased away by the dominant male.

Gallery Edit

ARKive photos and videos of the guanaco