Page 1

Common Name: Vicuna Scientific Name: Vicugna vicugna

LOWER RISK Vicuna Distribution: South America

Habitat: High Grasslands Height: Approx. 2.5cm Weight: Up to 55kg Diet: Herbivorous

Vicuna have a light to dark brown soft woolly coat to keep it warm at high altitudes. Vicuna are slim, with long skinny limbs and neck. Their incisors constantly growing to enable them to keep up with their very fibrous diet of grass. If their teeth did not do this then they would quickly wear down and the Vicuna would starve. Vicuna graze on the high plains of South America. They inhabit the high grasslands of Chile, Bolivia and Peru. These areas are a little bit like a desert because they are so high up. Vicuna are very well adapted to this as they are related to the camel and so do not need to drink every day, so they do not have to live near water. Vicuna are very shy animals, and will run away if startled. They will make a clear whistling sound when in danger, and on firm ground they can reach speeds of 47 kilometres per hour over long distances. Vicuna are sociable animals who live in family groups of between six and 15 females and one dominant male, or in large male herds of up to 150 individuals. The small family groups have territories, but the male herds are nomadic and may roam into the grazing area of a smaller group. Vicunas often dispute over prime feeding sites, and rival males will spit at each other as they fight.