Alpaca

Not threatened

Dolorès, Denise, Alphonse, Penuria, Choupinette, Desastre, Paula


Scientific name : Vicugna pacos

Where do they live?

Native to the Andes (Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina)

Did you know?

Their spitting is a defence mechanism. It is mostly reserved for other alpacas. They rarely spit at humans, contrary to popular belief. Depending on how angry they are, alpaca "spit" contains simply air and saliva, or can be composed of a grassy mix of stomach acid.

This domesticated South American camelid is similar to the llama. Unlike llamas however, alpacas were not domesticated to be pack animals, but instead for their wool, which is used to make all kinds of clothing, especially ponchos. Depending on the size and quality of the wool, one alpaca produces 2 to 3 kilos of wool per year on average.
The 2 breeds of alpacas can be distinguished by their fleece: the Suri alpaca has long fibres that resemble dreadlocks, and the Huacaya alpaca has semi-long, curly hair.

Height

85 cm at the withers.

Weight

70-80 kg.

Gestation period

11 months.

Offspring

Offspring weigh 7 kg at birth with a few centimetres of fur.

Life expectancy

20 years.

Diet

Foin, herbe.

Human-Animal Connection

Alpacas are calm and gentle with a natural affinity for children; they are independent, without being shy. They are curious, intelligent animals and are not aggressive toward humans or other animals. They can easily live together with other species.