Vicugna vicugna

Vicuņas live in the Andean region of Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile, at elevations above 3,500 meters (11,700 ft). Alert and shy when sensing danger, they can flee at nearly 50 km/h (30 mph), aided by a heart which is 50% heavier than the average weight for similar-sized mammals. The smallest among all camelids, they are also the only artiodactyls whose incisors are constantly growing (like those of rodents), to cope with the wear caused by the hard grasses which they eat. Unlike other camelids, such as camels, vicuņas must drink daily.

The above picture was taken in the Artis zoo of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in July 2005.

Family Camelidae
Order Artiodactyla
Subclass Eutheria
Class Mammalia
Subphylum Vertebrata
Phylum Chordata
Kingdom Animalia
Life on Earth