Alpaca

(Vicugna pacos)

alpaca

Alpacas are members of the camelid family.  While closely related, llamas and alpacas are distinctly different animals. First, llamas are much larger, about twice the size of an alpaca, with an average weight of about 250 to 450 pounds, compared to an alpaca whose weight averages 100 to 200 pounds. Llamas are primarily used for packing or for guarding herds of sheep or alpacas, whereas alpacas are primarily raised for their soft and luxurious fleece.  Alpacas have been raised as domestic livestock for thousands of years.

Alpacas mainly eat grass or hay, and not much—approximately two pounds per 125 pounds of body weight per day. Alpacas are pseudo-ruminants, with a single stomach divided into three compartments. They produce rumen and chew cud; thus, they can process this modest amount of food very efficiently.

Alpacas are raised for their soft and luxurious fleece.  This fleece, often compared to cashmere, can be turned into a wide array of products from yarn and apparel to tapestries and blankets. The fleece itself is recognized globally for its fineness, softness, light-weight, durability, excellent thermal qualities, and luster.  Alpaca fleece has a great variety of natural colors.

Alpacas are social herd animals that live in family groups consisting of a territorial alpha male, females and their young. They are gentle, elegant, inquisitive, intelligent and observant. As they are a prey animal, they are cautious and nervous if they feel threatened. They like having their own space and may not like an unfamiliar alpaca or human getting close, especially from behind. They warn the herd about intruders by making sharp, noisy inhalations that sound like a high pitch burro bray. The herd may attack smaller predators with their front feet, and can spit and kick. Due to the soft pads on their feet, the impact of a kick is not as dangerous as that of a hoofed animal, yet it still can give quite a bruise, and the pointed nails can inflict cuts.

On display at WILD VALLEY ADVENTURE PARK

Information collected from http://www.alpacainfo.com/academy/about-alpacas

Pic from https://www.goodkarmaranch.com/