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Alpaca FAQ's

A Guide To All Things Alpaca!

Are alpacas friendly?


The best way to answer this is by first stating that alpacas are most certainly not aggressive in any shape, way or form. They have extremely sweet temperaments and are open and kind to visitors of their barns and pastures. It's always important to remember that when visiting with alpacas, you are entering into their home. With this in mind, alpacas are considered to be very gracious hosts. They will never display any aggressive behavior towards humans (if they are treated with respect) but at the same time, that doesn't mean that they will always walk straight over to you for a quick cuddle. The most common misconception when it comes to alpacas is that all of them are in great want for human contact and a nice scratch behind the ears. Some most certainly do take to visitors almost immediately (and we have a few on the ranch that display this behavior) but just like humans, alpacas have many different personalities. Some wish to be left alone, others love interacting with visitors, and there still others that given time with certain individuals, will grow to trust them and enjoy being in their company. (If you're interested in really getting to know one of our alpacas, please visit our Adopt an Alpaca page on this website.) Alpacas respond very well to children as their size is less threatening than that of adults which makes visiting with alpacas a wonderful family adventure. 


How would you best describe an alpaca?


In one word: curious. Alpacas are extremely curious animals which is why they are such a treat to be around. When visiting with them, the majority will not just turn and run away from you. Instead they wish to see what you're all about and get to know you. However, they wish to do so on their own terms. If you walk straight up to an alpaca that's never seen you before then more than likely they will shy away from you. If you have a small amount of patience and let them get to know you on their terms - allowing them to come to you - then you will find most will give into their curiosity and desire to get closer and interact with you. They may be very curious animals but they are also very wisely, extremely cautious as well. Meeting them on their terms will prove to be a fulfilling experience.

 

Do alpacas spit, bite, or kick?

As mentioned above, alpacas are not aggressive animals. Let's start with biting: It's simply not possible because they don't have teeth on their upper palate. The most they could is maybe suck on your hand by mistake when you're feeding them, but that only makes for a funny, tickling sensation. Kicking? Absolutely not. We have never seen them kick out at a human but of course, we've never seen anyone foolish enough to run straight up behind one. Like when dealing with other humans, if you use common sense when dealing with alpacas, no harm could ever possibly come to you. So this leaves us with the question we get asked more so than any other....do alpacas spit? Yes they do...but at each other. It's an extremely rare occurrence for an alpaca to spit at a human. You may get hit in the cross fire between two alpacas but it's pretty obvious by the sound they make, when two alpacas aren't getting along. Our advice is, don't go near them if they're having a disagreement and you will avoid getting spit on. Most of the time alpacas don't even launch anything at each other but instead 'fake spit'. This means they make the sound of it, but are just blowing out air as a caution. They do this to protect their feeding area in the barns and if they feel another alpaca is invading their personal space. Bottom line is: you have nothing to fear from alpacas!

 

Can you pet an alpaca?

Yes, but not in the conventional sense. We are used to 'petting' our more domesticated animals such as dogs and cats on the head which unfortunately, alpacas do not like. They are very unappreciative of people touching their heads in any way, shape, or form but from below their jaw bone and down their necks, they love a nice scratch or stroke of their fiber. 

 

Can you cuddle with an alpaca?

Oh most certainly you can! We are fortunate to have a number of alpacas in our herd that do enjoy a nice cuddle (once they've got to know you!) and we encourage you under an employee's supervision to get a nice big hug in while you're here.

 

Can you feed an alpaca?

Only if you want a best friend for life. You can definitely feed an alpaca by hand and in many ways, it's the easiest way to coax them in while they are still getting to know you. There are stations in the barn where we sell alpaca grain in bags for $1 so please help yourself to these. 

 

 

 


Updated April 13, 2015