I was always wondering what differences has one camelid from another… and I finally understood!
Would you like to discover it as well? The group of camelid animals is vast; just look at its members: dromedary camels, Bactrian camels, wild Bactrian camels, llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, and guanacos.
Camelids are large, strictly herbivorous animals with slender necks and long legs. The musculature of the hind limbs differs from those of other ungulates in that the legs are attached to the body only at the top of the thigh, rather than attached by skin and muscle from the knee upwards. Because of this, camelids have to lie down by resting on their knees with their legs tucked underneath their bodies.
They have three-chambered stomachs, rather than four-chambered ones; their upper lips are split in two, with each part separately mobile; and, uniquely among mammals, their red blood cells are elliptical.
Camelids do not have hooves, rather they have two-toed feet with toenails and soft foot pads. Most of the weight of the animal rests on these tough, leathery sole pads. The South American camelids, adapted to steep and rocky terrain, can move the pads on their toes to maintain grip.
Camelids are behaviourally similar in many ways, including their walking gait, in which both legs on the same side are moved simultaneously. The consequent swaying motion of camelids large enough for human beings to ride is legendary.
Dromedary camels, Bactrian camels, llamas and alpacas are all induced ovulators.
The three Afro-Asian camel species have developed extensive adaptations to their lives in harsh, near-waterless environments. Wild populations of the Bactrian camel are even able to drink brackish water, and some herds live in nuclear test areas.
Bactrian camel: Central Asia (entirely domesticated)
Wild Bactrian camel: Central Asia (entirely wild)
Dromedary or Arabian camel: South Asia and Middle East (entirely domesticated)
Llama: domestic form of guanaco.
Guanaco: South America.
Huacaya Alpaca: domestic form of vicuña.
Suri Alpaca: domestic form of vicuña.
Vicuña: South American Andes.
Can you identify each camelid on the picture? Which is your favourite one?