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Guanacos are usually found in small herds or loosely structured family groups. When a member of the herd picks up the slightest hint of danger, it makes a high-pitched warning call, causing the other guanacos to flee swiftly and nimbly across the steep and uneven terrain. Guanacos generally live at high elevations, grazing on grasses and browsing on leaves and buds. They can get by without water for long periods of time, obtaining moisture from the plants they eat. The young play and romp, but when confronted by an adult male they will lay their neck on the ground in submission. The guanaco is one of the largest wild mammals in South America, and the puma is its only significant natural predator. Classified as endangered in Chile and Peru, its numbers in Chile appear to be increasing.

Name: Guanaco (Lama guanicoe)

Family: Camelidae (Camels and Relatives)

Range: Andes from Peru to Patagonia

Habitat: Arid montane regions and grasslands

Diet: Grasses, shrubs, lichens, and fungi

Head and Body Length: 5 to 6.5 feet (1.5 to 2 m)

Tail Length: 9 to 10 inches (22 to 25 cm)

Shoulder Height: 35 to 47 inches (90 to 120 cm)

Weight: 176 to 265 pounds (80 to 120 kg)

Life Cycle: Mating November to February; gestation 300 to 330 days, one calf born

Description: Thick, woolly, reddish-brown coat; pale underneath; gray to black head; white-edged eyes, lips, and ears; long, pointed ears; long neck; slender body; long limbs

Conservation Status: Not listed by the IUCN.

Related Content: Corwin's Carnival Massive Mammals

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