AskDefine | Define guanaco

Dictionary Definition

guanaco n : wild llama [syn: Lama guanicoe]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A South American ruminant, Lama guanicoe; closely related to the alpaca, llama, and vicuña - the lamoids.




guanaco (plural guanaco's)

Extensive Definition

The guanaco (Lama guanicoe) is a camelid animal native to South America that stands approximately 1.06 m (3 ft 6 in) at the shoulder and weighs about 90 kg (200 lb). Like the llama, the guanaco is double coated with a coarse guard hair and soft undercoat, which is almost as fine as that of the alpaca at approximately 16-18 µ in diameter, although they carry far less of it. The guanaco's soft wool is second only to that of the vicuña, a close relative. The colour varies very little, ranging from a light brown to dark cinnamon and shading to white underneath. Guanacos have grey faces and small straight ears. They are extremely striking with their large, alert brown eyes, streamlined form, and energetic pace. They are particularly ideal for keeping in large groups in open parklands.
Similarly to llamas, alpacas and vicuñas, guanacos have thicker skin in their necks. Used for fighting in competition for mates, they have thickened to be more protective. Bolivians use the necks of these animals to make shoes, flattening and pounding the skin to be used for the soles. After this long process of condensation and compression, the skin becomes very hard. If it is not done properly it can absorb small amounts of water and become slippery to walk on. The young guanacos are named chulengo(s) throughout South America.

Population and distribution

The guanaco is native to South America. Guanaco are found in the altiplano of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina. In Chile and Argentina they are more numerous in Patagonian regions, in places like the Torres del Paine National Park, and Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego in fact has an overpopulation of guanacos. Bolivian Indians have been known to raise guanacos to help them regain their population stability. A guanaco's average life span is 20-25 years.
Current estimates place their numbers at 500,000.
Guanacos can run with a speed of 56 km (35 mi) per hour. The running is important for their survival, because in the open places where they live there is no place to hide.
Guanaco is also a colloquial term that people from El Salvador and their descendants use to refer to themselves. Story has it that Chilean missionaries visiting El Salvador nicknamed salvadorans "Guanacos" because it reminded them of the guanaco found in their homeland.


guanaco in Catalan: Guanac
guanaco in Czech: Guanako
guanaco in German: Guanako
guanaco in Spanish: Lama guanicoe
guanaco in Esperanto: Gvanako
guanaco in Basque: Guanako
guanaco in Persian: گواناکو
guanaco in French: Guanaco
guanaco in Croatian: Gvanako
guanaco in Indonesian: Guanako
guanaco in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Guanaco
guanaco in Italian: Lama guanicoe
guanaco in Hebrew: גואנקו
guanaco in Lithuanian: Guanakas
guanaco in Hungarian: Guanakó
guanaco in Dutch: Guanaco
guanaco in Japanese: グアナコ
guanaco in Polish: Gwanako
guanaco in Portuguese: Guanaco
guanaco in Quechua: Wanaku
guanaco in Russian: Гуанако
guanaco in Slovenian: Gvanako
guanaco in Finnish: Guanako
guanaco in Swedish: Guanaco
guanaco in Turkish: Guanako
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