Facts about Alpaca

We found 18 facts about Alpaca

Highly intelligent, swift learning and gentle animals

Most of the world's alpaca population is found in South America, in the Altiplano region of Peru-Chile-Bolivia, where they are currently found only on small farms high on the slopes of the Andes.

Their natural habitat is steppe plateaus at an altitude of 4,000 to 5,000 meters above sea level. Because they live in rather harsh climatic conditions, they have adapted to poor-quality plant forage, dry and cold air, and hot temperatures.

They are popular around the world for their fleece, which is highly valued in the textile industry.

Alpacas are members of the Camelidae family.

They are grass-eating, even-toed mammals related to llamas, vicunas, and guanacos. They feed on grasses, herbs, young shoots and twigs.

Alpacas were domesticated 4,000-5,000 BC in the Peruvian-Bolivian Altiplano region.

The development of alpaca breeding for fiber in other continents began in 1980.

Outside of South America, most alpacas are bred in New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada and Europe.
The alpaca reaches a length of 128-151 cm with a body weight of 55-85 kg.

The height at the withers is 80-100 cm.

The coloration of alpacas is most often black or brown-black, sometimes white.

In general, it is possible to distinguish 20 natural alpaca colors and about 200 shades of these colors.

Under favorable conditions, alpacas can live from 15 to 25 years.
Alpacas are herd animals.

The bond that binds alpacas to the rest of the herd is so strong that individuals raised separately quickly decline in health and show signs of emotional disturbance.

A typical family group consists of a dominant male, several adult females, and numerous offspring.

An alpaca's gestation period is approximately 335-340 days, and usually one offspring is born, weighing up to 9 kg. The female will nurse the young for 6-8 months. Young alpacas reach sexual maturity between the first and second year of life.

Alpacas have the splitted upper lip characteristic of camelids and continuously growing teeth that must be trimmed.

Alpacas that feed on silica-rich plants partially wear down their teeth.

Alpacas have three eyelids.

The third eyelid is called the haw and moves horizontally.

Alpacas do not destroy pastures because they have soft pads on the underside of their hooves.

They also have a nail on the front of their foot that is constantly growing. Under natural conditions, alpacas rub their nails against hard ground.

Alpacas do not destroy pastures because they have soft pads on the underside of their hooves.

They also have a nail on the front of their foot that is constantly growing. Under natural conditions, alpacas wear it against hard ground.

Alpacas are intelligent, they get used to their owners, learn quickly and adapt to new living conditions.

These animals are used for so-called alpaca therapy with healthy and handicapped children, as well as the elderly. Being around alpacas has a very positive effect on everyone and breeders say that it is impossible not to like alpacas. You just love them for being there.

In the United Kingdom, alpacas are sometimes used as pasture guards.

Although they are rarely aggressive, they are attached to flocks of free-grazing sheep, where they will defend the sheep from possible predators. If the herd is threatened, they are able to charge at an attacker and scare him off with their stance alone, as they are not equipped with horns or sharp claws.

Alpacas are bred for their wool, which is the primary raw material obtained.

Alpacas are shorn once a year, yielding 3 to 5 kilograms of fiber.

Alpaca fiber is extremely fine and belongs to the group of special fibers.

It has excellent thermal insulating properties, warms much better than sheep's wool, and at the same time is several times lighter than it. It is recommended for allergy sufferers as it is not allergenic.

Thanks to the low content of lanolin (animal wax), it is resistant to dirt and dust mites, and no chemicals are used in its production and maintenance. Because of its special qualities, alpaca wool is considered a luxury product.

There are two breeds of alpacas: suri and huacaya, which differ in their coat.

The suri's hair grows up to 50 cm long and grows along the body, while the huacaya's hair grows perpendicular to the body. Both breeds can be found in captivity, but the suri is less popular.

Alpaca droppings, when dried, are used as fuel by shepherds.

It is also successfully used in agriculture as a fertilizer.

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