Updated: Jun 8
Alpacas are truly fascinating animals. They are very easy to handle and care for, providing they have been well-handled and trained from a young age. More and more people are now choosing to keep alpacas; they make excellent field pets due to their docile and inquisitive nature.
Here are 7 fun facts about alpacas that you probably didn’t know…
1) Alpacas are part of the camelid family
Alpacas belong to the same, small camelid family as llamas, camels, guanacos and vicunas.
2) There are 2 distinct types of alpacas
Alpacas exist in two different breeds: Suri and Huacayas. Suri’s have long, curly fleeces, whereas Huacaya’s have a much shorter, denser fleece which creates a teddy bear-like appearance.
3) Giving birth is called ‘unpacking’
After a long 11.5 months gestation period, female alpacas give birth to a baby, known as a cria. This process is referred to as ‘unpacking’!
4) Alpacas are completely domesticated
Alpacas have been domesticated since their beginnings (around 6000 years ago). You will not find alpacas in the wild.
5) Alpacas are induced ovulators
Female alpacas can be receptive for breeding at any time of year, and are induced into ovulation when a breeding male sings to her during mating (also known as 'orgling'). However, in the UK, most breeders conduct mating between April and September, so that the young cria are not born during the cold winter months.
6) Alpacas typically give birth between 7am and 2pm
Alpacas originate in the mountain regions where temperatures drop dramatically overnight; therefore, alpacas give birth in the morning to early afternoon, to allow cria to dry off before the cold weather sets in.
7) Alpacas have fighting teeth
Male alpacas have sharp teeth located at the back of their mouths, which are used to fight potential male competitors. The fighting teeth need trimming each year to avoid causing injury to other alpacas.
Thinking About Keeping Alpacas?
Fostings, located in beautiful mid-Wales, is home to our small herd of friendly alpacas; consisting of stud males, breeding females and young crias. If you are interested in keeping alpacas, we recommend you carry out some research and visit a few alpaca keepers in order to discover first-hand how herds are managed and cared for. Even better than just visiting, we provide an Alpaca Husbandry Course for those who are serious about starting their own herd and welcome newbie alpaca owners to book a spot too. You will receive some much-needed advice and guidance, and will also get some hands-on experience too. Find out more here.
P.S. Did you know that you can stay with our alpacas at Hush Hush Glamping? Discover more here.