Punta Norte, Peninsula Valdes
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Peninsula Valdes 9121
Chubut
Argentina
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Punta Norte

 

Photo by InterHabit SA

Punta Norte, perched high above the ocean on Argentina's Peninsula Valdes, is a great place to spot Orcas from shore. And it is an ideal spot to observe sea lions and Southern Elephant Seals. Yet a trip to the northeast tip of this World Heritage Site is about more than marine mammals. The journey across the peninsula affords a glimpse at steppe fauna; animals (tinamous, armadillos, cuis, tucu-tucus, gatos del pajonal, southern gray fox, maras, and guanacos), lizards and birds. A ranger station, information center and souvenir shop, selling snacks and drinks, are also found at Punta Norte.
Guanaco Facts
 

There are lots of fun facts about the guanaco. Did you know that?

  • The guanaco, from the Quechua word huanaco, is a relative of the llama and largest of the wild camelid species.
  • Guanacos are found in South America. They inhabit the dry, rocky regions of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile and Argentina. Many live at high altitudes, up to 13,000 feet (3,962 meters) above sea level.
  • The guanaco's coat can be beige, brown or rusty red. They have a gray head and white belly and rump. Guanacos have a 10-inch (25 cm) tail and two-toed hooves.
  • Guanacos have a double coat. The coarse top layer, called guard hair, repels water and dirt; the soft undercoat keeps the guanaco warm.
  • The guanaco is a ruminant. They have three-chambered stomachs and chew their cud.
  • Guanacos are both grazers and browsers meaning they eat grasses (grazers) as well as shoots and leaves (browsers).
  • The guanaco is a strong swimmer and can run up to speeds of 40 miles (64 km) per hour.
  • Female guanacos and chulengos, baby guanacos under one year in age, feed and move in herds with one dominant male. Adult males travel in single sex bands.
  • The guanaco makes a variety of sounds. They snort and shriek to alert the herd to possible dangers. When guanacos greet they exchange a turkey-like gobble.
  • Guanacos are prey for mountain lions and fox. But they are an endangered species for a completely different reason. Man has hunted the guanaco to near extinction.
 
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