Seven existing species of the Camelidae family

The term recent species refers to currently living organisms. The animals, which belong to the Camelidae family, have long necks and are large herbivores. Camels are considered equidae, meaning they have separate toes. This is different, for example, from horses that have only one solid hoof.

This article examines 7 living species from the Camelidae family, including bacterial camels, wild bacterial camels, dromedary camels, llamas, guanacos, alpacas and vicuñas.

7. Bactrian camel

Bactrian camel in Mongolia.

The Bactrian camel is native to the steppe region of Central Asia, where it stretches from rocky mountains to arid deserts. The bacterial camel is the largest animal that lives in this area. It is characterized by a pair of humps on the back. This species is mostly domesticated and has about 2 million inhabitants. Treading is able to withstand extremely low temperatures, dry conditions and high altitudes. These traits have made her a valuable pack animal for hundreds of years. In fact, this camel was the main pack animal used to transport goods along the Silk Road.

This species grows to an average shoulder height between 5.9 and 7.5 feet and is usually between 7.38 and 11.48 feet long. It is the largest living species of camel in the world.

6. Wild bacterial camel

A pack of wild camels in Mongolia.

The wild bacterial camel originates from the northern region of China and the southern region of Mongolia, where it roams between mountain ranges and arid plains in search of food and water. Like the trampling, this species also has two humps rising from its back. The two animals are considered close relatives, each of which evolved separately between X.7 and 1.5 million years ago. The conservation status of the wild bacterial camel is considered critically endangered, with a population of only 1,400 in the wild. The main threat to its survival is poaching.

The wild Bactrian lives in herds that can range from 6 to 30 members, depending on the availability of food and water. His nostrils are long and very thin, and he has a double set of long lashes. Both of these properties protect this species from strong winds and the blowing sand of desert storms.

5. Dromedary or Arabian camel

Arabian camel in Oman.

The camel dromedary is native to the Arabian Peninsula and South Asia. This species has been domesticated since ancient times and has not appeared in the wild for at least 2,000 years. Its most famous feature is the only hump protruding from the back. This camel can lose up to 30% of its water content and is therefore able to withstand arid desert conditions. Throughout the Old World region of Africa, the dromedary camel is used for transportation and as a pack animal. Many indigenous groups rely on this species as a source of milk and meat.

This species has an average shoulder height between 5.6 and 6.6 feet and an average weight of 660 to 1320 pounds. Males are larger than females.

4. Lama

Lama in front of Machu Picchu.

The llama is native to the Andes in South America, but is believed to have originated in the lowland region of North America X million years ago. Today it is considered a domesticated species and has about 40 million inhabitants. This species was used as a cattle and a source of wool even before the Spanish colonial era. It is characterized by a long, woolly neck; short, curved tail; and long, inward-facing ears. The coat comes in a variety of colors, including: brown, white, black, gray, and patchwork.

The llama grows between 5.6 and 5.9 meters in height and weighs between 290 and 440 kilograms. As a pack animal, this species can carry between 25 and 30% of its body weight over a distance of up to 8 miles.

3. Guanaco

Guanaco in Chile.

Guanaco is native to the Andes and the Altiplano in South America, where its population ranges between 400,000 and 600,000. This species is wild and is believed to be the ancestor of the modern, domesticated llama. Its fur appears brownish to reddish-brown with a white color on the lower abdomen. It is recognizable by its gray face and small straight ears. In some countries, guanaco wool is highly prized. For example, in Chile, this species can be hunted as a food source for humans.

This species measures from 3 meters and 3 inches to 3 meters and 11 centimeters in height, which makes it smaller than a domesticated llama. It weighs between 200 and 310 kilograms.

2. Alpaca


Alpaca is another species of camel native to South America. This species is completely domesticated and is not valued as a pack animal, but because of its soft wool. Alpaca can live at extremely high altitudes, where local communities use wool to produce knitted hats, gloves, scarves, sweaters, blankets. and towels. In addition, these communities often rely on alpaca meat as a food source. This species comes in a wide range of colors (32 by Peruvian standards) from white to black and brown to reddish brown. Alpacas and llamas can successfully grow and produce sterile huarizo.

The alpaca grows to a shoulder height of between 32 and 39 centimeters, much smaller than its relative llama. It usually weighs between 106 and 185 pounds.

1. Vicuña

Vicuña in Argentina.

Like guanacos, vicuña is a wild species of camel. It originates from the Andean mountainous areas of South America and is a national animal in Peru. This species produces very fine, soft and warm wool that can only be obtained from the same animal every three years. During the Inca Empire, only Inca kings were allowed to wear the vicuna joke. In 1974, this species was considered endangered and had only 6,000 inhabitants. Thanks to successful conservation efforts, the vicuna is now among 350,000 and no longer on the endangered species list.

This species is smaller than a guanaco and grows to an average shoulder height of about 3 feet and a length of about 5 feet. It weighs under 150 pounds.

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