10 Interesting Facts about Alpacas

One of these following facts about alpacas should probably give you much information about this animal. Alpaca is a domesticated species of South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in appearance. There are two breeds of alpaca; the Suri alpaca and the Huacaya alpaca alpaca. Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador, and northern Chile at an altitude of 3,500 m (11,500 ft) to 5,000 m (16,000 ft) above sea level, throughout the year. Furthermore, to get to know more about this animal, here are some other facts about alpacas you might be interested in.

Facts about alpacas 1: Comparison

Alpacas are considerably smaller than llamas, and unlike llamas, they were not bred to be beasts of burden, but were bred specifically for their fiber.

Facts about alpacas 2: Alpaca Fiber

Alpaca fiber is used for making knitted and woven items, similar to wool. These items include blankets, sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, a wide variety of textiles and ponchos in South America, and sweaters, socks, coats and bedding in other parts of the world.

Facts about alpacas - Alpaca
Facts about alpacas – Alpaca

Facts about alpacas 3: Textile Industry

In the textile industry, “alpaca” primarily refers to the hair of Peruvian alpacas, but more broadly it refers to a style of fabric originally made from alpaca hair, but now often made from similar fibers, such as mohair, Icelandic sheep wool, or even high-quality English wool.

Facts about alpacas 4: Camelids

Along with camels and llamas, alpacas are classified as camelids. Of the various camelid species, the alpaca and vicuña are the most valuable fiber-bearing animals: the alpaca because of the quality and quantity of its fiber, and the vicuña because of the softness, fineness and quality of its coat.

Facts about alpacas - Alpaca headshot
Facts about alpacas – Alpaca headshot

Facts about alpacas 5: Pack Animals

Alpacas are too small to be used as pack animals. Instead, they are bred exclusively for their fiber and meat. Alpaca meat was once considered a delicacy by Andean inhabitants. Because of the high price commanded by alpaca on the growing North American alpaca market, illegal alpaca smuggling has become a growing problem.

Facts about alpacas 6: Social Herd Animals

Alpacas are social herd animals that live in family groups consisting of a territorial alpha male, females and their young. Alpacas warn the herd about intruders by making sharp, noisy inhalations that sound like a high-pitched bray. The herd may attack smaller predators with their front feet, and can spit and kick.

Facts about alpacas - Bolivian man with his alpaca
Facts about alpacas – Bolivian man with his alpaca

Facts about alpacas 7: Physical Contact

Most alpacas do not like being grabbed. Some alpacas tolerate being stroked or petted anywhere on their bodies, although many do not like their feet, lower legs, and especially their abdomen touched or handled.

Facts about alpacas 8: Reproduction

Females are “induced ovulators”; the act of mating and the presence of semen causes them to ovulate. Females usually conceive after just one breeding, but occasionally do have troubles conceiving. Artificial insemination is technically difficult, but it can be accomplished. Alpacas conceived from artificial insemination are not registerable with the Alpaca Registry.

Facts about alpacas - Shorn alpaca
Facts about alpacas – Shorn alpaca

Facts about alpacas 9: Diet

Alpacas require much less food than most animals of their size. They generally eat hay or grasses, but can eat some other plants (e.g. some leaves), and will normally try to chew on almost anything (e.g. empty bottle). Most alpaca ranchers rotate their feeding grounds so the grass can regrow and fecal parasites may die before reusing the area.

Facts about alpacas 10: Livestock

Alpacas need to eat 1–2% of body weight per day, so about two 60 lb (27 kg) bales of grass hay per month per animal. When formulating a proper diet for alpacas, water and hay analysis should be performed to determine the proper vitamin and mineral supplementation program.

Facts about alpacas - Suri alpaca
Facts about alpacas – Suri alpaca
Facts about alpacas - Suri alpaca
Facts about alpacas – Suri alpaca
Facts about alpacas - Suri alpaca
Facts about alpacas – Suri alpaca

Hope you would find those alpacas facts really interesting, useful and helpful for your additional reading.

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