The grandfather of one of my best friends from school used to have an alpaca farm, so today I want to write about one of their closest wild relatives, the vicuna.
Here are five interesting facts about them:
- These cute animals grow up to 1.6 metres long, making them the smallest member of the camelid family.
- They are thought to be the wild ancestors of the alpaca and have lovely soft fur, which grows up to 30 cm long on their chest.
- Vicunas live in small groups of about 10 animals, led by a dominant male who defends their territory. They are very shy and the male keeps a lookout for danger, warning the group with a whistling call that allows the rest of the herd to run away quickly.
- They eat short grasses and have sharp teeth that never stop growing, just like rodents.
- Vicunas live high in the Andes mountains of Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Peru. They have also been introduced to Ecuador. They used to be heavily hunted, especially for their wool, and their numbers dropped until they were endangered in the 1960’s. However, conservation efforts since then have seen their numbers recover and they are now quite common.
I hope that you found these facts interesting and learned something new.
Are there any other interesting facts that you would like to share about vicunas?