Animal Corner – Alpacas

Alpacas belong to the camel family. They are native to the mountainous areas of South America such as the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador and northern Chile. An Alpaca can reach up to 99 cm at the shoulder and weigh up to 180 pounds. They have thick, long hair which is considered to be of very high quality. Alpaca hair, called fiber, is prized for making clothing and other textiles.

Alpacas are no longer found in the wild, but are a domesticated species. They have been very important to indigenous people for thousands of years.  Alpaca are very social animals that prefer to live in family units. Alpaca are vocal and make a variety of sounds to communicate, ranging from a barking-like sound to clicking and shrieking to warn others of danger.

While alpacas and llamas may look similar, they are some differences. Alpacas are smaller, however they have more wool than llamas typically do. Try seeing if you can tell these differences between them yourself during your next visit!