Alpaca

Alpaca

Overview
An alpaca is a domesticated
Domestication
Domestication or taming is the process whereby a population of animals or plants, through a process of selection, becomes accustomed to human provision and control. In the Convention on Biological Diversity a domesticated species is defined as a 'species in which the evolutionary process has been...

 species of South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

n camelid
Camelid
Camelids are members of the biological family Camelidae, the only living family in the suborder Tylopoda. Dromedaries, Bactrian Camels, llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, and guanacos are in this group....

. It resembles a small llama
Llama
The llama is a South American camelid, widely used as a meat and pack animal by Andean cultures since pre-Hispanic times....

 in appearance.

Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

 of southern Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

, northern Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

, Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

, and northern Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

 at an altitude of 3500 m (11,482.9 ft) to 5000 m (16,404.2 ft) above sea level, throughout the year. Alpacas are considerably smaller than llamas, and unlike llamas, they were not bred to be beasts of burden
Working animal
A working animal is an animal, usually domesticated, that is kept by humans and trained to perform tasks. They may be close members of the family, such as guide or service dogs, or they may be animals trained strictly to perform a job, such as logging elephants. They may also be used for milk, a...

, but were bred specifically for their fiber.
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Encyclopedia
An alpaca is a domesticated
Domestication
Domestication or taming is the process whereby a population of animals or plants, through a process of selection, becomes accustomed to human provision and control. In the Convention on Biological Diversity a domesticated species is defined as a 'species in which the evolutionary process has been...

 species of South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

n camelid
Camelid
Camelids are members of the biological family Camelidae, the only living family in the suborder Tylopoda. Dromedaries, Bactrian Camels, llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, and guanacos are in this group....

. It resembles a small llama
Llama
The llama is a South American camelid, widely used as a meat and pack animal by Andean cultures since pre-Hispanic times....

 in appearance.

Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

 of southern Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

, northern Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

, Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

, and northern Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

 at an altitude of 3500 m (11,482.9 ft) to 5000 m (16,404.2 ft) above sea level, throughout the year. Alpacas are considerably smaller than llamas, and unlike llamas, they were not bred to be beasts of burden
Working animal
A working animal is an animal, usually domesticated, that is kept by humans and trained to perform tasks. They may be close members of the family, such as guide or service dogs, or they may be animals trained strictly to perform a job, such as logging elephants. They may also be used for milk, a...

, but were bred specifically for their fiber. Alpaca fiber
Alpaca fiber
Alpaca fleece is the natural fiber harvested from an alpaca. It is light or heavy in weight, depending on how it is spun. It is a soft, durable, luxurious and silky natural fiber. While similar to sheep’s wool, it is warmer, not prickly, and has no lanolin, which makes it hypoallergenic. Alpaca is...

 is used for making knitted and woven items, similar to wool
Wool
Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and certain other animals, including cashmere from goats, mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, vicuña, alpaca, camel from animals in the camel family, and angora from rabbits....

. These items include blankets, sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, a wide variety of textiles and ponchos in South America, and sweaters, socks, coats and bedding in other parts of the world. The fiber comes in more than 52 natural colors as classified in Peru, 12 as classified in Australia and 16 as classified in the United States.

In the textile
Textile
A textile or cloth is a flexible woven material consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibres often referred to as thread or yarn. Yarn is produced by spinning raw fibres of wool, flax, cotton, or other material to produce long strands...

 industry, "alpaca" primarily refers to the hair of Peruvian alpacas, but more broadly it refers to a style of fabric originally made from alpaca hair, but now often made from similar fibers, such as mohair
Mohair
Mohair usually refers to a silk-like fabric or yarn made from the hair of the Angora goat. The word "mohair" was adopted into English before 1570 from the Arabic: mukhayyar, a type of haircloth, literally 'choice', from khayyara, 'he chose'. Mohair fiber is approximately 25-45 microns in...

, Icelandic sheep
Icelandic sheep
The Icelandic sheep is a breed of domestic sheep. The Icelandic breed is one of the Northern European short-tailed sheep, which exhibit a fluke-shaped, naturally short tail. The Icelandic is a mid-sized breed, generally short legged and stocky, with face and legs free of wool...

 wool, or even high-quality English wool. In trade, distinctions are made between alpacas and the several styles of mohair and luster.

Background



Alpacas have been domesticated for thousands of years. The Moche
Moche
'The Moche civilization flourished in northern Peru from about 100 AD to 800 AD, during the Regional Development Epoch. While this issue is the subject of some debate, many scholars contend that the Moche were not politically organized as a monolithic empire or state...

 people of northern Peru often used alpaca images in their art. There are no known wild alpacas, though its closest living relative, the vicuña
Vicuña
The vicuña or vicugna is one of two wild South American camelids, along with the guanaco, which live in the high alpine areas of the Andes. It is a relative of the llama, and is now believed to share a wild ancestor with domesticated alpacas, which are raised for their fibre...

(also native to South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

), are believed to be the wild ancestor of the alpaca. The alpaca is larger than the vicuña, but smaller than the other camelid species.

Along with camel
Camel
A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as humps on its back. There are two species of camels: the dromedary or Arabian camel has a single hump, and the bactrian has two humps. Dromedaries are native to the dry desert areas of West Asia,...

s and llama
Llama
The llama is a South American camelid, widely used as a meat and pack animal by Andean cultures since pre-Hispanic times....

s, alpacas are classified as camelid
Camelid
Camelids are members of the biological family Camelidae, the only living family in the suborder Tylopoda. Dromedaries, Bactrian Camels, llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, and guanacos are in this group....

s. Of the various camelid species, the alpaca and vicuña are the most valuable fiber-bearing animals: the alpaca because of the quality and quantity of its fiber, and the vicuña because of the softness, fineness and quality of its coat.

Alpacas are too small to be used as pack animals. Instead, they are bred exclusively for their fiber and meat. Alpaca meat was once considered a delicacy by Andean inhabitants. Because of the high price commanded by alpaca on the growing North American alpaca market, illegal alpaca smuggling has become a growing problem.

Alpacas and llamas can successfully cross-breed. The resulting offspring are called huarizo
Huarizo
A huarizo is a cross between a male llama and a female alpaca. It is generally bred for its exceptional fleece. Huarizo are generally sterile, but recent genetic research conducted at the University of Minnesota Rochester suggests that it may be possible to preserve fertility with minimal genetic...

, which are valued for their unique fleece and gentle dispositions.

Behavior


Alpacas are social herd animals that live in family groups consisting of a territorial alpha male,
females and their young. Alpacas warn the herd about intruders by making sharp, noisy inhalations that sound like a high-pitched bray. The herd may attack smaller predators with their front feet, and can spit and kick.

Spitting


Not all alpacas spit, but all are capable of doing so. "Spit" is somewhat euphemistic
Euphemism
A euphemism is the substitution of a mild, inoffensive, relatively uncontroversial phrase for another more frank expression that might offend or otherwise suggest something unpleasant to the audience...

; occasionally the projectile contains only air and a little saliva, although alpacas commonly bring up acidic stomach contents (generally a green, grassy mix) and project it onto their chosen targets. Spitting is mostly reserved for other alpacas, but an alpaca will occasionally spit at a human.

For alpacas, spitting results in what is called "sour mouth". Sour mouth is characterized by a loose-hanging lower lip and a gaping mouth. This is caused by the stomach acids and unpleasant taste of the contents as they pass out of the mouth.

Physical contact



Most alpacas do not like being grabbed. Some alpacas tolerate being stroked or petted anywhere on their bodies, although many do not like their feet, lower legs, and especially their abdomen touched or handled.

Hygiene


Alpacas use a communal dung pile, where they do not graze. This behaviour tends to limit the spread of internal parasites. Generally, males have much tidier, and fewer dung piles than females, which tend to stand in a line and all go at once. One female approaches the dung pile and begins to urinate and/or defecate, and the rest of the herd often follows.

Because of their preference for using a dung pile, some alpacas have been successfully house-trained.

Sounds


Alpacas make a variety of sounds. When they are in danger, they make a high-pitched, shrieking whine. Some breeds are known to make a "wark" noise when excited. Strange dogs—and even cats—can trigger this reaction. To signal friendly or submissive behavior, alpacas "cluck," or "click" a sound possibly generated by suction on the soft palate, or possibly in the nasal cavity.

Individuals vary, but most alpacas generally make a humming sound. Hums are often comfort noises, letting the other alpacas know they are present and content. The humming can take on many inflections and meanings.

When males fight, they scream a warbling, bird-like cry, presumably intended to terrify the opponent.

Reproduction


Females are "induced ovulators"; the act of mating and the presence of semen causes them to ovulate. Females usually conceive after just one breeding, but occasionally do have troubles conceiving. Artificial insemination is technically difficult, but it can be accomplished. Alpacas conceived from artificial insemination are not registerable with the Alpaca Registry.

A male is usually ready to mate for the first time between one and three years of age. A female alpaca may fully mature (physically and mentally) between 12 and 24 months. It is not advisable to allow a young female to be bred until she is mature, as over-breeding a young female, before conception is possible, is a common cause of uterine infections. As the age of maturation varies greatly between individuals, it is usually recommended that novice breeders wait until females are 18 months of age or older before initiating breeding.

The gestation period is 345 ± 15 days, and usually results in a single offspring, or cria
Cria
A cria is the name for a baby camelid such as a llama, alpaca, vicuña, or guanaco. It comes from the Spanish word cría, meaning "baby". Its false cognate in English, crya , was coined by British sailors who explored Chile in the 18th century and were quick to describe the camelids onomatopoeically...

. Twins
TWINS
Two Wide-Angle Imaging Neutral-Atom Spectrometers are a pair of NASA instruments aboard two United States National Reconnaissance Office satellites in Molniya orbits. TWINS was designed to provide stereo images of the Earth's ring current. The first instrument, TWINS-1, was launched aboard USA-184...

 are rare, occurring about once per 1000 deliveries. After a female gives birth, she is generally receptive to breeding again after about two weeks. Crias may be weaned through human intervention at about six months old and 60 pounds, but many breeders prefer to allow the female to decide when to wean her offspring; they can be weaned earlier or later depending on their size and emotional maturity.

Alpacas can live for up to 20 years.

Diet



Alpacas require much less food than most animals of their size. They generally eat hay or grasses, but can eat some other plants (e.g. some leaves), and will normally try to chew on almost anything (e.g. empty bottle). Most alpaca ranchers rotate their feeding grounds so the grass can regrow and fecal parasites may die before reusing the area.

Alpacas can eat natural unfertilized grass; however, ranchers can also supplement grass with low-protein grass hay. To provide selenium and other necessary vitamins, ranchers will feed their domestic alpacas a daily dose of grain. Most wild alpacas will obtain the necessary vitamins in their native habitats, however.

Digestion


Alpacas have a three-chambered stomach; combined with chewing cud
Cud
Cud is a portion of food that returns from a ruminant's stomach in the mouth to be chewed for the second time. More accurately, it is a bolus of semi-degraded food regurgitated from the reticulorumen of a ruminant. Cud is produced during the physical digestive process of rumination, or "chewing the...

, this allows maximum extraction of nutrients from low-quality forages.

Alpacas will chew their food in a figure eight motion, swallow the food, and then pass it into one of the stomach's chambers. The first and second chambers are where the fermentation process begins digestion. The alpaca will further absorb nutrients and water in the first part of the third chamber. The end of the third chamber is where the stomach secretes acids to digest food, and is the likely place where an alpaca will have ulcers, if stressed. The alpaca digestive system is very sensitive and must be kept healthy and balanced.

Poisonous plants


Many plants are poisonous to the alpaca, including the bracken fern
Bracken
Bracken are several species of large, coarse ferns of the genus Pteridium. Ferns are vascular plants that have alternating generations, large plants that produce spores and small plants that produce sex cells . Brackens are in the family Dennstaedtiaceae, which are noted for their large, highly...

, fireweed
Fireweed
Epilobium angustifolium, commonly known as Fireweed , Great Willow-herb , or Rosebay Willowherb , is a perennial herbaceous plant in the willowherb family Onagraceae...

, oleander, and some azalea
Azalea
Azaleas are flowering shrubs comprising two of the eight subgenera of the genus Rhododendron, Pentanthera and Tsutsuji . Azaleas bloom in spring, their flowers often lasting several weeks...

s. In common with similar livestock, others include: acorn
Acorn
The acorn, or oak nut, is the nut of the oaks and their close relatives . It usually contains a single seed , enclosed in a tough, leathery shell, and borne in a cup-shaped cupule. Acorns vary from 1–6 cm long and 0.8–4 cm broad...

s, African rue
Rue
Rue is a genus of strongly scented evergreen subshrubs 20–60 cm tall, in the family Rutaceae, native to the Mediterranean region, Macaronesia and southwest Asia. There are perhaps 8 to 40 species in the genus...

, agave
Agave
Agave is a genus of monocots. The plants are perennial, but each rosette flowers once and then dies ; they are commonly known as the century plant....

, amaryllis
Amaryllis
Amaryllis is a small genus of flowering bulbs, with two species. The better known of the two, Amaryllis belladonna, is a native of South Africa, particularly the rocky southwest region near the Cape...

, autumn crocus
Crocus
Crocus is a genus in the iris family comprising about 80 species of perennials growing from corms. Many are cultivated for their flowers appearing in autumn, winter, or spring...

, bear grass
Xerophyllum tenax
Xerophyllum tenax is a grasslike perennial in the family Melanthiaceae, closely related to lilies. It is known by several common names, including bear grass, squaw grass, soap grass, quip-quip, and Indian basket grass....

, broom snakeweed
Gutierrezia sarothrae
Gutierrezia sarothrae is a species of flowering plant in the daisy family known by the common names broom snakeweed and perennial matchweed. It is native to much of the western half of North America, from central Canada to northern Mexico...

, buckwheat
Buckwheat
Buckwheat refers to a variety of plants in the dicot family Polygonaceae: the Eurasian genus Fagopyrum, the North American genus Eriogonum, and the Northern Hemisphere genus Fallopia. Either of the latter two may be referred to as "wild buckwheat"...

, ragweed
Ragweed
Ragweeds are flowering plants in the genus Ambrosia in the sunflower family Asteraceae. Common names include bitterweeds and bloodweeds....

, buttercups
Ranunculus
Ranunculus is a large genus of about 600 species of plants in the Ranunculaceae. Members of the genus include the buttercups, spearworts, water crowfoots and the lesser celandine....

, calla lily
Zantedeschia
Zantedeschia is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the family Araceae, native to southern Africa from South Africa north to Malawi. The name of the genus was given as a tribute to Italian botanist Giovanni Zantedeschi by the German botanist Kurt Sprengel . Common names include arum lily...

, orange tree
Orange (fruit)
An orange—specifically, the sweet orange—is the citrus Citrus × sinensis and its fruit. It is the most commonly grown tree fruit in the world....

 foliage, carnations, castor beans
Castor oil plant
The castor oil plant, Ricinus communis, is a species of flowering plant in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae. It belongs to a monotypic genus, Ricinus, and subtribe, Ricininae. The evolution of castor and its relation to other species are currently being studied.Its seed is the castor bean which,...

, and a great many others.

History of the scientific name




The relationship between alpacas and vicuñas was disputed for many years. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the four South American lamoid
Lamoid
Lamoid is a group of South American camelids, which includes the guanaco, vicuna, alpaca and llama. The digestive system of lamoids is distinctive, with a noteworthy capability for digesting certain toxins. Furthermore, the gallbladder structure is absent in lamoids.-References:* Murray E. Fowler....

 species were assigned scientific names. At that time, the alpaca was assumed to be descended from the llama
Llama
The llama is a South American camelid, widely used as a meat and pack animal by Andean cultures since pre-Hispanic times....

, ignoring similarities in size, fleece and dentition between the alpaca and the vicuña. Classification was complicated by the fact that all four species of South American camelid can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. The advent of DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

 technology made a more accurate classification possible.

In 2001, the alpaca genus classification changed from Lama pacos to Vicugna pacos, following the presentation of a paper on work by Dr. Jane Wheeler et al. on alpaca DNA to the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 showing the alpaca is descended from the vicuña, not the guanaco.

Fiber



Alpaca fleece is a lustrous and silky natural
Natural fiber
Fibers or fibres are a class of hair-like materials that are continuous filaments or are in discrete elongated pieces, similar to pieces of thread. They can be spun into filaments, thread, or rope. They can be used as a component of composite materials. They can also be matted into sheets to...

 fiber
Fiber
Fiber is a class of materials that are continuous filaments or are in discrete elongated pieces, similar to lengths of thread.They are very important in the biology of both plants and animals, for holding tissues together....

. While similar to sheep’s wool, it is warmer, not prickly, and bears no lanolin
Lanolin
Lanolin , also called Adeps Lanae, wool wax or wool grease, is a yellow waxy substance secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals. Most lanolin used by humans comes from domestic sheep...

, which makes it hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic, meaning "below normal" or "slightly" allergenic, was a term first used in a cosmetics campaign in 1953. It is used to describe items that cause or are claimed to cause fewer allergic reactions...

. Without lanolin, it does not repel water. It is also soft and luxurious. In physical structure, alpaca fiber is somewhat akin to hair, being very glossy. The preparing, carding
Carding
Carding is a mechanical process that breaks up locks and unorganised clumps of fibre and then aligns the individual fibres so that they are more or less parallel with each other. The word is derived from the Latin carduus meaning teasel, as dried vegetable teasels were first used to comb the raw wool...

, spinning
Spinning (textiles)
Spinning is a major industry. It is part of the textile manufacturing process where three types of fibre are converted into yarn, then fabric, then textiles. The textiles are then fabricated into clothes or other artifacts. There are three industrial processes available to spin yarn, and a...

, weaving
Weaving
Weaving is a method of fabric production in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. The other methods are knitting, lace making and felting. The longitudinal threads are called the warp and the lateral threads are the weft or filling...

 and finishing process of alpaca is very similar to the process used for wool
Textile manufacturing
Textile manufacturing is a major industry. It is based in the conversion of three types of fibre into yarn, then fabric, then textiles. These are then fabricated into clothes or other artifacts. Cotton remains the most important natural fibre, so is treated in depth...

. Alpaca fiber is also flame-resistant, and meets the US Consumer Product Safety Commission's standards.

Prices


The price for American alpacas can range from US$100 for a castrated male (gelding) to US$500,000 for the highest of champions in the world, depending on breeding history, sex, and color.
According to an academic study, though, the higher prices sought for alpaca breeding stock are largely speculative and not supported by market fundamentals, given the low inherent returns per head from the main end product, alpaca fiber
Alpaca fiber
Alpaca fleece is the natural fiber harvested from an alpaca. It is light or heavy in weight, depending on how it is spun. It is a soft, durable, luxurious and silky natural fiber. While similar to sheep’s wool, it is warmer, not prickly, and has no lanolin, which makes it hypoallergenic. Alpaca is...

, and prices into the $100s per head rather than $10,000s would be required for a commercially viable fiber production herd. Breeding stock prices in Australia have fallen from AU$10,000–30,000 head in 1997 to an average of AU$3,000–4000 today.

It is possible to raise up to 25 alpacas per hectare
Hectare
The hectare is a metric unit of area defined as 10,000 square metres , and primarily used in the measurement of land. In 1795, when the metric system was introduced, the are was defined as being 100 square metres and the hectare was thus 100 ares or 1/100 km2...

 (10 alpacas per acre
Acre
The acre is a unit of area in a number of different systems, including the imperial and U.S. customary systems. The most commonly used acres today are the international acre and, in the United States, the survey acre. The most common use of the acre is to measure tracts of land.The acre is related...

). as they have a designated area for waste products and keep their eating area away from their waste area, but this ratio differs from country to country and is highly dependent on the quality of pasture available (in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 it is generally only possible to run one to three animals per acre due to drought). Fiber quality is the primary variant in the price achieved for alpaca wool; in Australia, it is common to classify the fiber by the thickness of the individual hairs and by the amount of vegetable matter contained in the supplied shearings.

Livestock


Alpacas need to eat 1-2% of body weight per day, so about two 60 lb (27.2 kg) bales of grass hay per month per animal. When formulating a proper diet for alpacas, water and hay analysis should be performed to determine the proper vitamin and mineral supplementation program. Two options are to provide free choice salt/mineral powder, or feed a specially formulated ration. Indigenous to the highest regions of the Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

, this harsh environment has created an extremely hardy animal, so only minimal housing and predator fencing are needed. The alpaca’s three-chambered stomachs allow for extremely efficient digestion. There are no viable seeds in the manure, because alpacas prefer to only eat tender plant leaves, and will not consume thick plant stems; therefore, alpaca manure does not need composting to enrich pastures or ornamental landscaping. Nail and teeth trimming is needed every six to 12 months, along with annual shearing.
Similar to ruminants, such as cattle and sheep, alpacas have only lower teeth at the front of their mouths; therefore, they do not pull grass up by the roots. Rotating pastures is still important, though, as alpacas have a tendency to regraze an area repeatedly. Alpacas are fiber-producing animals; they do not need to be slaughtered to reap their product, and their fiber is a renewable resource
Renewable resource
A renewable resource is a natural resource with the ability of being replaced through biological or other natural processes and replenished with the passage of time...

 that grows yearly.

See also

  • Grass Mud Horse
    Grass Mud Horse
    The Grass Mud Horse or Cao Ní Ma is a Chinese Internet meme widely used as a form of symbolic defiance of the widespread Internet censorship in China. It is a play on the Mandarin language words "fuck your mother", and one of the so-called 10 mythical creatures created in a hoax article on Baidu...

    , a parody originating from Mainland China of 2009 that features the alpaca
  • Alpaca fiber
    Alpaca fiber
    Alpaca fleece is the natural fiber harvested from an alpaca. It is light or heavy in weight, depending on how it is spun. It is a soft, durable, luxurious and silky natural fiber. While similar to sheep’s wool, it is warmer, not prickly, and has no lanolin, which makes it hypoallergenic. Alpaca is...


External links