While some people might accidentally get these interesting animals confused with llamas, alpacas are actually a totally different animal.
While they might look similar, alpacas are much smaller than llamas.
Another big difference between llamas and alpacas is how they work with people.
Llamas have always been used as beasts of burden, while alpacas are strictly bred for their wool.
Alpacas are kept in herds in many countries in South America, usually high up in the Andes Mountains.
Fun Alpaca Facts
There are no wild alpacas. Every alpaca belongs to a farmer, who raises them so that their wool can be made into clothing.
There are only two different breeds of alpacas.
Alpacas are related to more than llamas. They belong to the Camelidae family, which also includes camels.
Most alpacas are 48-54 inches tall and can weigh anywhere from 106 to 185 pounds.
Since they are a completely domesticated animal, alpacas can live for a pretty long time. If they are taken care of really well, they can live for up to 20 years or so.
Another way you can tell an alpaca from a llama (other than their size, of course) is by their ears.
If you look closely, you will notice that alpacas have shorter, straighter ears than a llama.
Just don’t get too close! Both of these animals are known to spit if they get annoyed. Yuck!
Alpaca wool is considered hypoallergenic. It is also much softer than sheep’s wool, and a whole lot less itchy!
Not only that, but their wool is also water and flame-resistant. How cool!
There are about 52 different color variations for alpaca fur.