Joining up with Marcy over at Ben & Me for “Blogging through the Alphabet” and super excited to do so!
Since our family has a general love and appreciation for all the animals the Lord has created…I am going to attempt to “Blog through the Alphabet” using animals. So, we will start with “A for Alpaca”. The first thing that comes to mind is…what is the difference between an alpaca and a llama?
First and most basic for starters: they are both mammals. They are both herbivores (which means they eat plants). Llamas and alpacas are members of the Camelid family are related to camels. Other camelids found in South America include the vicuña and guanaco. The characteristic trait of this family is being hornless, cud-chewing ruminants with an even number of toes and padded feet.
History has documented that alpaca was a fiber of the Gods, only available to Royalty. It was too good for the common folk to wear. Now, alpacas and llamas are being raised in the USA and providing quality alpaca and llama fiber for garments being worn by, yes…even us “common folk”!
Llamas are often larger than alpacas (42 – 48″ compared to 34 – 36″) and have a double-coat (coarse over soft). They also usually have more coarse hair and produce less fiber per animal (even though they are larger). This is because alpacas have been bred for their fiber whereas llamas have been bred for packing abilities. Llamas are normally saddled and carry loads of 50 to 75 pounds. They can travel up to 20 miles in one day.
As you can see…
Alpacas are smaller, with smaller faces and ears too. Llamas have larger banana-shaped ears and longer faces. (I always think of the movie “The Emperor’s New Groove” when I think of llamas. *grin*)
Llamas are normally best with other animals that are not other llamas whereas alpacas like to be together with their own kind. Both are herd animals so you never want to have one be all alone.
Alpacas are normally shy and quiet and easy to handle and train. Llamas are better as guard animals and as “pets”.
The Alpacas comes in two well known breeds that are popular here in the United States- the Suri and the Huacaya.
There are no official different breeds of llamas in the United Statues, but there are different classifications: heavy wooled, medium wooled and light wooled.
MYTH: “Llamas spit at people” – Just like alpacas, llamas do spit. The vast majority of llamas will not deliberately spit at a person unless the llama was abused in the past or has been teased while living at a zoo or similar environment. Sometimes, llamas spit at other llamas to settle disputes and people can accidentally get hit if they are not careful to stay out of the way. Just visit a llama farm near you and you will see that it is (mostly) a myth.
I hope you have learned some fun things about alpacas (and llamas). Come back next week to see what interesting animal we discuss for “B for Bearded Dragon”.
Here’s praying we all have fun learning!