We have several alpaca farms sprouting up in our area and I thought I’d find some amazing facts to share about them.
There are two breeds of alpacas, the huacaya and the suri. The huacaya have fluffy hair, much like a teddy bear. The suri have long wavy hair that hangs off its body.
Alpacas have soft pads on the bottom of their feet which don’t dig into the ground like the hooves of a horse or a cow.
Much like llamas, alpacas are known to spit when they’re annoyed with someone or angry with someone.
When they sit, they fold their legs under their body, which makes them very easy for transporting.
When they eat grass, they cut off the top of the plant rather than pulling it by the root. This is why many farmers use alpacas like a lawnmower.
Alpacas use their tail to express their feelings towards one another. If they don’t like something they will move it back and forth. If it’s being submissive, it will move its tail over its body and crouch down.
Alpaca mothers will always have their offspring in the morning. By having their offspring in the morning, the offspring will have the whole day to dry off, begin walking around and go back to its mother for nursing before the temperatures begin to drop at night.
Female alpacas have an 11-month pregnancy period and in 90% of the cases, don’t need help in delivering their offspring.
Alpacas were domesticated by the Incas more than 6,000 years ago. They were mainly raised due to their incredible fleece. The fleece is known for its quality and elite characteristics.
Alpaca fiber is a lot like a sheep’s wool but it’s much warmer and not as itchy. It doesn’t have lanolin, which is what makes it hypoallergenic and it’s able to be processed without high temperatures or harsh chemicals.
Alpaca fiber is flame resistant and water resistant. It can wick away moisture because it has a unique ability to mimic cotton in the moisture region.
Due to their close genetic makeup, alpacas and llamas can cross breed. The offspring that they create is known as “huarizo”.
Alpacas are known for using a communal feces pile. Due to preferring to use a predetermined spot for feces, many alpacas have been successfully house trained.
When they’re breeding, the male alpaca emits a unique and throaty vocalization called “orgling.”
Alpacas can be found in many different colors such as fawn, grey, brown, black, white and any different combination of these.
Due to their small size, it only takes an acre of productive pasture to sustain as many as 8 alpacas.
Alpacas are known to be very friendly with human children and very sociable with dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, sheep and goats.
Alpacas can live to be 25 years long and they’re able to survive in almost all climates.
While content alpacas tend to hum, when an alpaca wants to show friendly behavior, it will make a clucking or clicking noise.
Alpacas need a lot less food than most other animals their size. On average, one alpaca will consume two pounds of hay each day with about a cup of any other supplemental food.
Alpacas are usually about three feet at shoulder height when full grown. Some can reach four to seven feet in length at adulthood.
Alpacas are herbivores and they have a three chambered stomach. They will mostly eat grass but some have been known to eat wood, bark, leaves and stems.
Baby alpacas are called “crias” and they can weigh up to 20 pounds at birth.
Next to mohair, alpaca fiber is considered to be the second strongest natural animal fiber.