Vicuña

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Vicuña
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Camelidae
Genus: Vicugna
Species: V. vicugna
Binomial name
Vicugna vicugna
(Molina, 1782)

The vicuña (Vicugna vicugna) is one of two wild South American camelids. The vicuña, the smallest of the camelids, have had an interesting relationship with humans over time.

General characteristics[change | edit source]

The overall colour of the soft wooly coat is ochre, light cinnamon, or reddish brown, with the underparts, insides of the legs, and underside of the head being dirty white. On the chest, at the base of the neck, is a peculiar, pompon-like 'mane' of silky white hairs which may be 20-30 cm / 8-12 inches in length. The vicuña is extremely slender, with long skinny limbs and neck. The head is small and wedge shaped, with small, triangular ears. Unique among living even toed-ungulates, the incisors of the vicuña are constantly growing, with enamel on only one side, to keep up with the wear caused by the tough grasses on which they feed.

Distribution[change | edit source]

Grasslands at elevations of 3,500-5,800 meters / 11,700-19,300 feet in the Andes mountains of Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile.