• Dani

All About Alpacas Part 1

I will be doing a series about alpacas. We get a lot of questions about alpacas so I will address some of our most frequently asked questions during the course of the series and tell you everything you wanted to know about alpacas



Alpacas are part of the Camelid family. This means that they are related to camels and llamas. Most people know about the llamas, but camels can be a surprise!


One of the most frequently asked questions is the difference between alpacas and llamas. They are very similar animals. They are related and come from the same region of the Andes mountains and were domesticated by the same people groups.





The most obvious difference is their size. Alpacas weigh between 150-200 lbs at full size. Llamas weigh 300-500 lbs on average! My mom used to have a llama named Lucky and she was twice the size as the alpacas and much stronger


Both alpacas and llamas spit, however llamas spit for the fun of it and alpacas usually only spit when threatened or at other alpacas when fighting over food!





Are you familiar with fight vs flight instinct? When threatened with danger some animals instinctually flee, and some fight the danger. Alpacas only defense mechanism is spitting and when that's all you can do to protect yourself, you are low man on the totem pole, so the have a flight instinct. Llamas with their size, are able to fight. They are good enough at fighting that they can be used for guard animals.


Alpacas and llamas were domesticated for two different reasons. Alpacas for their fiber. They have one of the softest and warmest natural fibers. They get shorn like sheep to harvest their fiber and that gets spun into yarn to make all the wonderful alpaca things. Like alpaca, llamas get shorn and you can make things out of the llama but its not as delightfully soft. Llamas were domesticated as pack animals. Because of their size and structure they can carry stuff up the mountains.





Another difference between the two are their ear shapes. Alpacas ears stand straight but llamas have what are called banana ears. They are long and curve forward like a banana!


That's all for this segment. Until next time


Dani

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