Alpacas originate from the high mountains of Peru, Chile, and Bolivia. For over 6,000 years they have been, and remain, treasured by the locals. Alpacas are members of the South American Camelid Family which is made up of the vicuna, guanaco, llama, and alpaca. Unlike the llamas, which were primarily used as pack animals in South America, alpacas were raised for their cashmere-like fibre, once reserved for Incan royalty.
There are two types of Alpacas – Huacaya and Suri. The difference lies in their fleece. The Huacaya’s fibre has a wavy or crimped appearance while the Suri’s fibre hangs in uniform locks. Alpacas come in about 22 basic colours with many variations and blends and can be found in many countries around the world.
Alpaca fleece is used to create high-quality clothing which can be found all across Europe.
Male Alpacas reach sexual maturity at 2 1/2 to 3 years of age and females are usually first bred at around 1 1/2 years.
They have a gestation of around 11.5 months and usually give birth during daylight hours, they are excellent mothers and are not disturbed by human intervention directly after birth.
An Alpaca lifespan ranges from 15 to 20 years. They make excellent pets and are also show animals. Alpacas are easily trained to lead and are gentle enough to be handled by children. Alpacas are extremely alert and communicate with each other through body posture, tail, and ear movements as well as through some sounds. The sound heard most often is a soft humming.