Alpaca

Name

Alpaca

Scientific Name

Lama pacos

Characteristics

Alpaca are one of four species of South American camelid: Llama, Alpaca, Vicuna and Guanaco. Llama and alpaca are domesticated, vicuna and guanaco are wild.

Alpaca are the smallest of the domesticated camelid species. They have a slender body and neck, a small head and large pointed ears.

They are social animals that live in herds. These herds are not only composed of other alpacas but also include other species such as llamas, goats and sheep.

Alpaca produce a range of vocalisations such as humming, clucking, grumbling and screeching.  

There is only one species of alpaca but two fleece types, often referred to as breeds. They are the Huacaya and Suri alpacas and we have both here at the zoo. The suri fleece type is commonly described as looking like a ‘teddy bear’ and the huacaya type as looking like ‘dreadlocks’.

Diet

Alpaca are herbivores, eating only plants. They graze on leaves, wood, bark or stems.

Size Fact

Adults can weigh 55 to 65 kg.

Food Fact

Alpaca meat was once considered a delicacy by Andean inhabitants.

Fun Fact

The herd uses a communal dung pile, where they do not graze.

IUCN Red list

Alpaca are not an endangered species; they are not currently threatened by habitat loss. Domesticated Alpaca thrive in their natural habitats.

Where do I live?

Alpaca can be found in the arid grasslands of the Andes in southern Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and northern Chile.

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