Lama guanicoe

At the Detroit Zoo
A male guanaco named Ken can be seen in his American Grasslands habitat west of the Ford Education Center.

Guanacos are slender with long legs and necks. Their dense, wooly coats vary in color and may be light brown to yellow to brownish-red. Their heads, long ears and the napes of their necks are gray, while their legs, bellies, backs and rumps are white. Guanacos have cleft (split) upper lips, which help them to grab food. Although guanacos spit at one another to express displeasure, don’t let their spitting image fool you; for the most part these animals are easy-going and tightly bonded.

Fun Facts

  • The guanaco is the ancestor of the llama.

  • Like the camel, the guanaco has padded toes that help with its footing on slippery surfaces such as gravel slopes.

  • The guanaco can spit up to 6 feet, and it rarely misses its target.