The vicuna is the smallest animal in the family that includes camels, alpacas and llamas. They stand 3 ft. high at the shoulder and weigh about 150 pounds. Their length from head to tail is about 5 ft. To me their head looks sort of like a deer. I think they are beautiful animals.
The vicuna lives high in the Andes of South America at altitudes up to 15,000 ft. The grasses are tough, but their teeth are able to handle it as they are continually growing like those of rodents. The temperature is fairly warm during the day but can drop pretty low at night. The vicuna has thick hair that traps layers of warm air so they will stay warm.
They are highly valued for their wool, but can only be shorn every two or three years. This makes it very expensive to buy. They are also considered the national animal of Peru. Their feet are well suited for the rocky terrain. Because they walk on the soles of their feet, they are able to flex their toes which enable them to grab onto the rocks and pebbles on the hillside.
Vicuna are very shy animals, but have acute hearing so usually know when danger is near. They live in herds with 5 -10 members which usually include one male, several females and young ones. They defend two territorial areas, one for feeding and one for sleeping a little higher up for better protection.
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