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Alpaca FAQs

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Just in case it comes up in the pub quiz, here's some interesting alpaca terminology and facts!



What is a male alpaca called?

A male alpaca is called a 'Macho' or 'Stud' if he is a working male, or is referred to as a 'gelding' if he has been castrated.



What is a female alpaca called?

A female alpaca before her first baby is called a 'maiden' and after her first baby is called a 'Hembra' or 'Dam'.



What is a baby alpaca called?

A baby alpaca is called a 'Cria'.



What animals are alpacas related to?

Alpacas belong to the camelid family, along with llamas, camels, guanacos and vicunas.



How many types of alpaca are there?

Alpacas exist in two different breeds called Suri and Huacaya. Suri alpacas have long, curly fleeces, whereas Huacaya alpacas have a much shorter, denser fleece which creates a teddy bear-like appearance.



Are there alpacas in the wild?

Alpacas originate from the mountain ranges in southern America. across the borders of Peru, Chile and Bolivia, where they have been completely domesticated for their fleece and meat since their beginnings (around 6,000 years ago), so you will not find alpacas in the wild. Vicuñas and guanacos still run wild as protected species.



How long do alpacas live for?

Alpacas typically live for around 20 years.



Do alpacas spit?

Alpacas can spit, but they are not aggressive animals so are not usually deliberately seeking out someone to spit on!



How long are alpacas pregnant for?

Alpacas are pregnant for 11.5 months before they give birth to their baby, which is called a cria.



What is it called when an alpaca gives birth?

When a female alpacas give birth to a baby, called a cria, it is called ‘unpacking’!



How many babies do alpacas have?

Alpacas have just one baby, called a cria, as twins are very rare.



Are alpacas dangerous?

Alpacas are usually very docile animals. However, once male alpacas reach around 3 to 4 years of age, they develop sharp fighting teeth, which can be used in an attempt to castrate their opponent when fighting! Therefore, it is recommend that a vet trims these teeth (under sedation) to reduce the risk of injury to one another.



Do alpacas make good stock guards?

Alpacas can make good stock guards for other livestock such as chickens, turkeys, sheep and goats by chasing off foxes and dogs.


 

Learn how to look after alpacas


This 95 page E-Guide is packed full of information for new and prospective alpaca keepers, covering Alpaca 101, Requirements, Diet & Pasture Management, Husbandry Tasks, Disease & Parasites and an Introduction to Breeding & Cria Care. Download upon purchase so you can dive straight in! For the full contents list and to get your copy, click the image below.



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