Alpacas belong to the camel family (Camelidae), which has two genera. One genus comprises camels with humps while the other comprises lamas. The ‘lama genus’ in turn consists of 2 species and 2 so-called domesticated varieties (livestock). The two originally wild lama species of the ‘lama genus’ are named guanaco and vicuña and the two domesticated species are named lama and alpaca.
Alpacas are kept in herds and separated according to age, gender and use. After an alpaca has served as a ‘wool producer’ for approximately seven years, it is slaughtered for the meat. The Indians let alpacas graze freely during the day and herd them into pens at night; they are never kept in stables.
When an alpaca is angered or threatened, it flattens its ears and spits. The spit consists of regurgitated stomach contents and the alpaca can hit very accurately within a ten-metre radius. The spitting is used as a weapon, especially when two rivals fight, but also against other animal species, such as people!
Grass, bushes, lichen and fungi.
At elevations of 4,300 to 5,300 metres, chiefly in Peru.
No. of offspring:
1 every other year.