Guanaco Facts & Information

  • Scientific Name:
    Lama Guanicoe
  • Family:
    Camelidae (llama, alpaca and vicuña).
  • Order:
  • Size:
    Female 192 cm; Male 188 cm. (6,3 ft female , 6,17 ft male)
  • Weight:
    Between 120 and 150 kg. (Between 11 and 13 kg at birth)
Guanaco in Patagonia


The Andean highlands of Tarapaca , Parinacota and Antofagasta regions , in some central and south Andean refuges and in the regions of Aysen and Magallanes including Tierra del Fuego


They breed once a year between November and February , after an 11 month pregnancy. Copulas begin a week after the birth of their only offspring, also known as Chulengo.

Social Structure:

It is a social animal. In summer the male guards the territory alone or in family groups with several females (Harem), youth (only until February) and chulengos. Males that have no territory gather in groups of all ages. In winter they congregate in large mixed groups (200 - 400 animals) Between January and March you can see groups of youth who have been expelled from their family groups.

Habitat and food habits:

They eat principally grasses, but also they eat shrubs and lichens especially in winter.

In the Torres del Paine National Park it inhabits in the steppe areas and the Xerofitic Scrublands. In summer they are mainly concentrated in the areas of Laguna Amarga, Laguna Azul, Lago Sarmiento and Laguna Verde. In winter mixed groups move into the area of Lake Pehoe.


The main form of defence is made up of their excellent eyesight and great speed (up to 70 km / h). In the wild they live around 7 or 8 years, but they can live up to 15 years, and in captivity they have lived up to 25 years. The causes of death are basically predation by Pumas, injury from getting caught in fences, and old age.

© Alvaro Jaime
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