Animals, Farming, Small Businesses

Name that Camelid!

So here at Treeside, we often get asked the difference between Alpacas and Llamas, so we decided to give you a run down on the main ones. Both Alpacas and Llamas are Camelids from South America but differ in size, shape and produce; for example Alpacas are kept mainly as fibre producers with a fleece produced once a year, whereas Llamas were primarily kept as pack animals with load-bearing qualities. Llamas can also be kept as guard animals as they have a brave and somewhat defensive nature, as compared to Alpacas which are shier and quieter although temperament varies from animal to animal. Alpacas are also less likely to spit and kick, and must be kept with herd-mates; whilst Llamas are much more independent from each other they should still be kept close to other llamas as part of a herd.

One main difference is that Llamas have “banana-shaped” ears with a long, narrow face and Alpacas have straighter ears with a shorter face. Alpacas are also shorter in size and weigh less; most alpacas weigh around 150lbs and Llamas can weigh in excess of 400lbs. Llamas stand around 42-48 inches at the shoulders with Alpacas only standing at 34-36 inches. Llamas generally have less hair on their faces, whilst Alpacas have a tuft of hair which falls in their eyes, much like our Alpaca Wellington. Within the Alpacas at Treeside, there are some which have been interbred with Llamas as can be seen in Kimbo with his longer ears and face. However with their smaller stature and temperament they are more like Alpacas.

For those interested in learning more about Alpacas specifically, there are two different types depending upon their fleece. Suri Alpacas are which have long locks of fleece, falling flat to the contours of the body, similar in ways to the fleece of an Angora Goat. This long fleece likely makes people confuse them with a llamas long fleece. Suri Alpacas however are very rare with almost 95 % of Alpacas being Huacaya (pronounced Wuh-kai-ya). Our Alpacas are Huacaya Alpacas; they have a finer, denser fleece which is uniform and grows perpendicular to the skin, much like that of a Sheep. The fleece is very soft and looks crimped, giving them a fluffy almost teddy-like appearance!

Now you know the differences between Alpacas and Llamas, and the two different breeds of Alpaca, why not come and meet one of our Alpacas on a trek? Book one with us now!

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