A Closer Look: the Guanaco

Guanaco

An adult guanaco (Lama guanicoe). Photo by Ross Donihue and Marty Schnure.

We have fallen in love with the guanacos (Lama guanicoe) in the Chacabuco Valley. We’ve seen them playing, fighting, mating, defecating, relaxing, rolling in the dust, and just being silly. We have grown fond of guanacos not just for their charismatic features, but also for their convenient paths through the backcountry!

Adult guanacos stand 5-6 feet tall and have a similar appearance to a llama or an alpaca. Their diet consists of bunchgrass, bushes, fungi, and lichens. Here in the park, they are simply everywhere.

guanaco4

Photo by Marty Schnure and Ross Donihue

Here are some fun facts about guanacos:

• Guanacos have communal “latrines” so be careful where you walk!

• Guanacos have a gestation period of 345 to 360 days — almost a whole year!

• Immature male guanacos live and travel in bachelor herds separate from the females and juveniles until they are 4 to 6 years old.

We’ve had a lot of fun observing the guanacos that hang out around our camp, especially the extremely cute baby guanacos. Their funny antics are wonderful evening entertainment. Let us know if you’d like to see more guanaco photos!

A baby guanaco with its herd. Photo by Marty Schnure and Ross Donihue

A baby guanaco with its herd. Photo by Marty Schnure and Ross Donihue.

A young guanaco born just a few months ago

A young guanaco born just a few months ago. Photo by Marty Schnure & Ross Donihue.

Source: Chester, Sharon (2008). A Wildlife Guide to Chile. Princeton University Press.

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10 responses to “A Closer Look: the Guanaco

  1. Really cute! You guys have been all over…..sorry I have been out of touch. I am back in Costa Rica exploring other areas. Maybe I will see you somewhere in the world….keep up the good work. Paula

  2. Very photogenic creatures, and good photography. It will be nice in your presentations to have one or two favorites.

  3. Hi guys! I’m so glad you have made friends with some of the wildlife- they look adorable. I hope you are still having fabulous weather. All the photos are really beautiful. Miss you! Love, Gin

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