Lama guanicoe

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Guanacos are the wild ancestor of what we call today llamas. To communicate with one another, they use both body posture and vocalizations. For example, ear position usually indicates whether the animal is relaxed, alarmed, or feeling aggressive. This is indicated by ears up, ears forward, or ears laid flat, respectively. The same can be implied by tail position: when the tail is down, the animal is feeling normal; however, if the tail is pointed straight out or straight up, the animal is either alert or aggressive. To greet another guanaco, the animal will put its nose up against the nose of the other. 

Guanaco vocalizations include high-pitched trills, snorting, and shrieking; shrieking is usually reserved as an alert to the rest of the group when danger approaches.  Another form of communication for guanacos is in the form of spitting. They can aim with precision and spit their stomach contents up to 6 feet away.

Guanacos can be found in one of three different types of social groups: (1) family groups, which consist of multiple females, their offspring, and one adult male, (2) bachelor groups, or (3) solitary males. Territories are marked by dung piles.


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