In recent years, more and more people have become infatuated with alpacas and it’s easy to see why. These gentle and curious creatures can make wonderful pets if trained and cared for correctly. Alpacas are charming, quirky, and can offer so much. If you think they look similar to llamas it’s because they come from the same Camelidae family much like dromedary camels, vicuñas, and guanacos. However, the alpacas are very different for many reasons. So if you want to know more about these South American camelids, keep reading to find out.
There are only two breeds
Suri and huacaya are the two breeds of alpaca and the main difference between the two is the length and fineness of the fibres. The huacaya is the more common breed of alpaca and has a more dense, crimped fleece with shorter fibres, whereas a suri has longer fibres with tighter twists.
Alpacas have unique fur
Alpaca fleece is super soft and silky and one of the strongest natural fibres. It’s similar to sheep’s wool but is not itchy and is much warmer, and it’s waterproof while protecting them from the sun, which is pretty impressive! Alpaca fur is generally used for jumpers and socks because of its warmth.
Alpacas make great companions
Alpacas are intuitive and sensitive animals and make people feel relaxed because they’re so docile and quiet. They will hum though and for many reasons, like if they are content, curious, bored, or worried. But they will also shriek if they feel in danger. Alpacas temperament is quite calm which makes them great to be around children. You can take alpacas for walks and some will even enjoy a cuddle, which makes them even more adorable.
Caring for alpacas
As alpacas are small, they’re quite easy to care for. The average height of an alpaca is 3 feet. They’re also clean animals for livestock. If you are contemplating getting alpacas, make sure you get them from a reputable breeder like GB Alpacas. A responsible breeder will also show you how to take care of an alpaca. Alpacas are quite easy to look after and will require a bi-monthly toenail trim and shearing once a year. Unlike cows or horses, alpacas won’t churn up the ground, as they have soft pads on their feet.
Alpacas need companions
Due to their strong herding instincts, alpacas need the companionship of other alpacas in order to thrive. Ideally, they need to be paired with an alpaca of the same gender. They are social creatures and can herd with other animals like llamas, goats, and sheep. If they feel threatened or distressed they may spit at each other, especially if they’re trying to establish dominance or compete for food.
They need plenty of outdoor space
If you are thinking of getting alpacas, they will need plenty of outdoor space that is fenced off. They also need a barn area for when it’s raining or chilly. Alpacas don’t take up much room though, and you can usually raise between two to eight alpacas on an acre of land.
*This is a collaborative post