What is an Alpaca?
The alpaca is a member of the South American Camelid family which is comprised of vicuna, guanaco, llama and alpaca. There are two types of alpacas - the Suri and the Huacaya. Suris have straight fiber that has no crimp and is formed into locks. Huacayas have a wooly appearance and their fiber is fine and crimped. The alpaca's luxurious fiber is prized by spinners and weavers. Alpacas are very social herd animals and communicate to each other with humming sounds and body and head movements.
Quick Alpaca Facts:
- Average lifespan is 15 to 25 years.
- Average height is 36 inches at the withers.
- Average weight is 100 to 175 lbs.
- Average birth weight is 15 to 19 lbs.
- Gestation is about 335 days.
- A baby alpaca is called a Cria.
- Alpacas come in 22 natural colors, more than any other fiber animal.
- Alpacas are shorn once per year - an average alpaca will yield enough fiber to make 4 to 6 warm sweaters.
- Female alpacas can start breeding as early as 12 to 16 months.
- Male alpacas can begin to breed between 2 to 3 years.
- Although alpacas are grazers, they have a split upper lip which prevents them from damaging the vegetation's roots.
- Alpacas are earth friendly animals with clean habits and a natural curiosity.