There are two types of alpacas - the Huacaya and the Suri.

The main difference between the two is in the fleece they produce. Huacaya fleece has a waviness or “crimp”, which gives huacayas their fluffy, teddy-bear like appearance. Suri fleece has a little or no crimp, so that the individual fiber strands cling to themselves and hang down from the body in a beautiful pencil locks. The suri is more rare than the huacaya.

Have a hard time telling an alpaca from a llama? Llamas are twice as big as alpacas. The easiest way to tell the difference is to look closely at the shape of their ears. Llama ears are curved like a banana and alpacas' are straight.

Alpacas eat grasses and chew a cud. Adult alpacas are about 36" tall at the withers and about 4.5 to 5 feet tall from toes to the tips of their ears. A female alpaca generally weighs 110-150 pounds; while males generally weight approximately 140-180 pounds. Although there are some males and females who do weigh over 200 pounds.

Alpacas are generally gentle and easy to handle. Alpacas don't have incisors, horns, hooves or claws. Clean-up is easy since alpacas deposit droppings in only a few places in the paddock. They require minimal fencing and can be pastured at 5 to 10 per acre.

  1. BulletLife Span

In South America, it is believed alpacas live 5-10 years. However, without a major predator issue and with better nutrition and day-to-day care, we believe that the North American alpaca can live into the late teens or early 20’s.

  1. BulletCommunication

Alpacas have a very complex language of gestures that they use to communicate with each other. They use body posture, ear, tail, head and neck signals, several vocalizations, scent and smell, locomotion displays and herd response to communicate. Alpacas

Humming is the predominant sound you will hear at an alpaca farm. They hum from birth through six months of age constantly, mother and cria to each other. Alpacas will hum as a sign of distress when separated from each other. Alpacas hum when curious, content, worried, bored... they hum quite frequently for oh so many reasons.

Alpacas snort, grumble, cluck, scream, and screech. Mothers will cluck around their crias, especially when it is time to nurse, or if you are getting a bit to close. When something resembling a predator appears in the area, or something seems out of the ordinary, an alpaca will give off a high-pitched screeching sound, called an Alarm Call, which causes the rest of the alpacas to bunch up for protection.

Male alpacas sound off a unique vocalization when mating, called orgling. Each male orgles in his own style that may use the throat, lips, and a breathing technique.

About Alpacas   Maintenance/Care   Characteristics    Fiber   Reproduction   Earth-Friendly   The Lifestyle    History   Etiquette



About Alpacas          

Maintenance & Care of Alpacas                                     

Alpaca Characteristics                                   

The Fiber                                   



The Alpaca Lifestyle                                   

A Brief History                                   

Alpaca Etiquette           

Debbie & Mark Emery
Glen Ellen, California
Tel & Fax:  707.996.0350