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Alpaca

Classification
  • Order: Artiodactyla
  • Family: Camelidae
  • Genus: Vicugna
  • Species: pacos
Fun Fact

Alpacas make a wide range of sounds used to communicate with other alpacas. They will hum when in distress or a change in their environment has occurred. “Snortling” is a warning signal, clucking is used by mothers to their young, grumbling tells others of food ownership, screeching will occur when another doesn’t like the food ownership and a loud scream will be given during stressful situations.

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About Alpacas

Related to camels, the alpaca is a domesticated animal from South America. The alpaca is the smallest of the domesticated camelids, weighing 120-140 lbs. They are found in up to 22 different color variations ranging from white to black. Males will develop longer lower incisors and lower canines, used as “fighting teeth”. The females do not develop these teeth.

Alpacas are primarily raised for the fiber in their coat. Alpaca fleece is similar to sheep’s wool, but is warmer, hypoallergenic and flame resistant. According to recent archeological studies, the alpaca was domesticated approximately 6,000 years ago. They are not currently found in the wild, but do have a wild cousin, the Vicuna.

Alpacas in the Wild

Habitat

Kept in herds to graze in high altitudes in the Andes Mountains, often at 11,500-16,000 feet above sea level.

Location

Andes Mountains in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chili

Diet

Alpacas are herbivores, or in other words they eat grass and other vegetation.

Population Status

IUCN list alpacas as no special status.

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