Alpaca

Vicugna pacos

A wooly camelid

Camelids are members of the Camelidae family, and include alpacas, wild and domestic camels, llamas, vicuñas, and guanacos. Alpacas are the smallest of the domesticated camelid species, bred for their warm, soft fur.

About the Species

Alpacas have slender bodies, long necks and camel-like faces.

Alpacas have small heads with pointed ears. They weigh between 100 to 140 pounds. The alpacas hair grows in a assortment of different colors, with approximately 22 base colors. No other animal whose hair is used to turn into fiber naturally grows in such a large difference of colors. The hair is prized for it's silky texture. The hair of the alpaca is warmer and stronger than sheep's wool, and without the itchy quality. Cria fiber, hair from baby alpacas, is extra fine and sells at higher price. Alpacas are clipped once a year producing 5-10 pounds of fleece. It is turned into yarn which is then used to create things such as sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves.

Words From the Experts

Quotes

Alpacas are covered in wool. Their wool is similar to sheep's wool, but not itchy! Come and meet our alpaca, Jake, and find out for yourself how soft alpacas are!

Christina

Did You Know?

There are two breeds of alpacas, the huacaya and suri. The huacaya's fleece is long and crimpy covering most of their body. The suri's fleece grows down the contours of their body in locks curling at the ends.

Facts

Origin

Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina

Habitat

Andes Mountains

Size

Average weight 50-68 kg (110-150 lbs)

Diet

Grasses and shrubs

Predators

No reports of any specific predators in their native range

Natural Defenses

Vocalizations

Reproduction

One baby per year with a gestation period close to a year

Status

Not Listed

Life Expectancy

Between 5-10 years

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