Alpacas are a member of the camelid family. Others in this group are the camel,
llama, guanaco & vicuna. Their natural habitat during most of the past 5000
years has been in the Peru, Chile & Bolivian areas of South America.
They have adapted well to the high altitude of the Andes and its harsh climate.
The fibre coat grown is one of the best fleeces to have, with great insulation
factors that trap air in the soft, light weight covering. It is often
compared to cashmere.
In ancient times, under the Inca leaders, the fibre of the alpacas was
utilized for the clothing and comfort of the rulers.
Just over 25 years ago arrangements were made with these South American
governments for export. Today there are alpaca farms in many countries of the
Canada, USA, Australia have the larger numbers, but England, Germany, Turkey &
others have started to raise these animals.
Their lifespan is between 15 & 25 years.
They are smaller than their llama ‘cousins’ by about ˝.
Height of an alpaca is approximately 36-39“ at the withers & an adult‘s
is 125 to 170 pounds.
They have two toenails that cover a padded area - much like a dog foot pad.
Therefore they tread upon the earth softly!
These are quite quiet animals. They communicate
with a soft hum sound. When danger is near they have an 'alarm' signal
that is a little louder and reminds me of a horse whinny. All collect
together at this time- curious to see what the danger may be. My herd has
been together for a good period of time and are in tune with the fields around.
When the dog start to bark, the alpacas perk their ears up & have a look to see
what is 'new' or different. The same goes for the times that their
'alarms' are voiced. The dog comes to attention & checks out the area!
So, I have a dual alert system that seems to
compliment each other!