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Alpaca Facts!

All You Need To Know About Alpacas.

Huacaya v. Suri

Huacaya v. Suri

- Alpaca's are part of the camelid family which also includes llamas, vicuna,

guanaco, and camels.


- There are two types of alpacas. Huacaya - characterized by a short, dense,

crimpy fleece, giving it a wooly appearance. Represent 90% of all alpacas in the

US. Suri - characterized by long, silky 'pencil-like' locks (similar to dread locks in

appearance) that grow parallel to the body. Represent10% of alpacas in the US.


- An alpaca's average life span is between 18-24 years of age.


- Alpaca fiber comes in 22 natural colors.


- Alpaca's can weigh anywhere between 125-180lbs.


- The alpaca's average height is between 32"-39" at the shoulder.


- Male alpacas reach maturity at around 2.5 years and the females are first

bred between 16-20 months of age and can continue to be bred until they are 



- An alpaca's gestation period is 11 months.


- Cria (alpaca babies) weigh between 15-20lbs when they're born.


- Twins are very rarely born and often do not survive.


- Alpaca's are weaned from their mother at six months of age.


- Alpaca's have no teeth on their upper palate.


- Alpaca's teeth continue to grow throughout their entire lives and have to be

continually shaved down.


- Alpaca's have soft padded feet with two toes making them very gentle on 

their environment.


- Alpaca's are herbivores and modified ruminants (having only three stomach

compartments as opposed to the usual four). They chew their cud similar to

cows and enjoy grazing on grass, and eating hay and grain supplements. 


- Alpaca's have an incredible digestive efficiency rate, getting over 50% of

the nutrients in their food.

- Alpaca's are sheared once a year producing between 5-10lbs of fiber.

- Alpaca's are smart animals and can be trained to do such things as agility

courses. They only need to be shown how to do something, 3-4 times before

they retain the information. Although there is a question as to whether or not

they understand when you call them by their name, they do recognize humans 

and commands.


- Alpaca's communicate through humming which is used to convey a bevy of 

emotional states. They also use body language (posturing of their neck, head,

and tail). When they perceive danger, they use a loud, repetitive staccato 

alarm call to warn their herd


- Alpaca's have excellent vision and hearing


- The two main differences between an alpaca and llama are size and fiber 

quality. Llamas were bred to be 'beasts of burden' whereas alpacas were bred 

to be fiber producers. Llamas are taller the alpacas and have a more aggressive





Alpacas v. Llamas

Alpacas v. Llamas

The unique digestive system of an alpaca.

The unique digestive system of an alpaca.

Alpaca's are very efficient eaters.

Alpaca's are very efficient eaters.

Alpaca's use a loud, staccato alarm call when threatened.

Alpaca's use a loud, staccato alarm call when threatened.

Updated April 10, 2015