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Vicuña facts for kids

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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 is the smallest of the camelids. It has had an interesting relationship with humans over time.

General characteristics

The main colour of the soft, wooly coat (hair) is ochre, light cinnamon, or reddish brown. The lower part of the body, the inside of the legs, and the underside of the head are white. On the chest, at the base of the neck, there is a 'mane' of white hairs. They can be 20-30 cm (8-12 inches) in length. The vicuña is very slender (slim). It has long neck and skinny limbs. The head is small and wedge shaped. The ears are small and triangular. The incisors (front teeth) of the vicuña are always growing. It is the only even toed-ungulate with teeth that always grow. The enamel is on only one side. This is because of the tough grasses which they eat.


The vicuña lives in grasslands at elevations of 3,500-5,800 meters (11,700-19,300 feet) in the Andes mountains of Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile.

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