Guanaco Facts | Patagonia Wildlife Guide
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTIONGuanacos are camelids endemic to South America and are one of the largest mammals found on the continent, standing approximately 3.5 feet at the shoulder and weighing between 200 and 300 pounds. This slender, fine-boned creature has a long neck and limbs and large, alert brown eyes Its face can be blackish or silvery-grey in color. Guanacos have pointed ears and prehensile, cleft lips, which are used to grasp and maneuver twigs and grasses. Like the llama, the guanaco is double coated—the upper layer of insulative guard hairs keep the guanaco warm, while the soft undercoat is used for making fine garments, which are even more highly prized than that of the alpaca. Guanacos range in color from light reddish-brown to cinnamon with white undersides.
HABITAT & FEEDING HABITSGuanacos are found in the forests, grasslands, deserts, and
BEHAVIORThe guanaco can run nearly 35 miles per hour—faster than any other Patagonian animal except the
REPRODUCTIONA female may start to mate at as early as 1 year old but typically waits two or three years before breeding. The mating season occurs from November through February. During this period, male guanacos can become very aggressive and fight violently. Gestation lasts 11 months, and a mother gives birth to one calf between December and February. The young, called chulengo, can stand up within an hour of birth and has a full coat of hair. The calf weighs 17 to 33 pounds at birth and nurses for 11 to 15 months.
CONSERVATION STATUSPumas target young chulengos, yet as the population of this
Header Credit: Cassiano Zaparoli
Patagonia Wilderness & Wildlife Explorer
Photo departures available