Camels may be most huggable, but we're cuter.
Alpacas are related to camels, but do not have a hump. Like their camel cousins, alpacas spit when they are upset or unhappy. They also have long necks that give them a higher vantage point. Being able to see for long distances allows alpacas to keep an eye out for predators – including cougars, coyotes and bears. If they think there is danger, they let out a high-pitched braying sound to warn the rest of the herd.
Alpacas are farmed all over the world for their soft, silky fleece. They are shorn once a year, usually in the spring, generating 2.3 - 4.5 kilograms (5 – 10 pounds) of fibre. Alpaca fleece has over 20 natural colours – from a pale, almost white to the darkest black.
We are family
Alpacas live in family groups made up of a territorial male, females and their young. If males do not have their own group of females, called a harem, they join bachelor herds. If a male wants to take over a harem, he must fight the dominant male, which can involve biting, neck wrestling, pushing and screaming at each other.
Babies are called cria. Young are called tuis.
At a Glance
55 – 65 kg (120 – 145 lb)
90 – 130 cm (3 – 4.2 ft) at shoulders
Andes mountains at elevations up to 4,800 metres
Herbivore. Alpacas are grazers. The majority of their diet is made up of grasses and small, woody shrubs that grow at high elevations.