Dictionary > Guanaco


noun, plural: guanacos or guanacoes
A wild camelid native to South America, and is closely related to llamas and alpacas
The guanacos, together with the llamas, the alpacas, and the vicugnas, are regarded as the New World camelids. As a camelid, the guanacos are characterized by having a long and slender neck as well as long legs. They do not have hooves but feet with two toes and soft pads. The guanacos stand between 1 and 1.2 m at the shoulder.1 They are also characterized by having grayish face and small, straight ears.
The guanacos roam mainly to the arid, mountainous regions of South America. They are found to inhabit Peru, western Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Tierra del Fuego, and Navarino Island.2 They live in herds consisting of the alpha male, females, and their young (called chulengos).
The guanacos are hunted for their soft, warm wool. Nevertheless, the wool of vicugnas is softer.
Scientific classification:

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Artiodactyla
  • Family: Camelidae
  • Genus: Lama
  • Species: L. guanicoe (Müller, 1776)

See also:


1 Stahl, P. W. (4 April 2008). “Animal Domestication in South America”. In Silverman, Helaine; Isbell, William. Handbook of South American Archaeology. Springer. pp. 121–130.

2 Hoffman, E. 2014. “Lama guanicoe”, Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved from http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Lama-guanicoe/.

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