The Alpaca (Vicugna pacos) is an ungulate (hoofed) camelid mammal. It is related to the Llama and the Vicuna.
The Alpaca has silky hair, similar to sheep’s wool. It can tolerate freezing temperatures because its wool protects it from harsh weather. The Alpaca can be white, cream, brown, and brown and white.
It measures 81-99 centimetres (32-39 inches) tall at the shoulders.
The Alpaca is native to South America, in countries such as Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile. It prefers temperate conditions in the mountains.
The Alpaca spits when it is in distress, afraid, or to show dominance, but not all Alpacas spit. It can also kick.
It is a grazer, eating grass. It is not a ruminant, like a cow.
It is a social animal, living in herds of family groups.
The female is pregnant for 11.5 months before giving birth to a single life young, called a cria. The cria can stand soon after birth.
On average, the Alpaca lives for 15-20 years.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM