WILD STATUS: The vicuna is classified as vulnerable by the IUCN, and as endangered by the USDI.
LIFE SPAN: 15-20 years in the wild and up to 25 in captivity.
DISTRIBUTION: Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina.
SIZE: Shoulder height: 30-39in (75-100cm), head and body length: 4-6ft (1.2-1.8m), shoulder height: 30-39in (75-100cm).
WEIGHT: 88-132 pounds (40-60kg).
HABITAT: Semi-arid grassland in mountain regions.
REPRODUCTION: Gestation is 11 months and the vicugna mother gives birth to one baby, known as a cria.
DIET: Grasses and other vegetation.
- They live in family groups led by a single territorial male
- Vocalizations include an alarm call — a high pitched whinny — that alerts the herd to danger. They also emit a soft humming sound to signal bonding or greeting and a range of guttural sounds.
- The males spit at each other when they fight.
- The lower teeth grow constantly so they can eat tough grasses.
- The Vicugna is a member of the camel family, and thought to be an ancestor of the alpaca.
- It has an incredibly thick soft coat to trap layers of warm air close to the body to protect it from freezing.
- Their milk is very rich so their offspring grow very quickly.
- Vicugnas are very shy animals and can run very quickly.
- They live in herds of 5-10 members.
- In the past they have been hunted for the use of their wool and their meat.
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