Most alpacas make good pets
The more handling they receive when young the quieter they are as adults. Alpacas are not very tactile animals even though they look cuddly, they especially don’t like being touched on the head.
• Alpacas are related to llamas, which are twice the size of an alpaca have banana shaped ears and are mainly used as pack animals.
• There are two types of Alpaca in Australia, Huacaya (wua’ki’ya) which has a fleece-like coat and Suri (soo’ree) which has a deadlock-like coat.
• Alpacas chew cud like a cow, eat hay or pasture and need fresh drinking water
• They do not need a shed for shelter at night
• They prefer cooler climates
The first alpacas were bought to Australia in 1989 and are bred exclusively for their fleece. Alpacas are shorn once a year, usually in spring. Depending on the density of the fleece, alpacas can yield between 1.5kgs – 6kgs of wool. Alpaca wool is very soft, strong, warm and light and comes in grey, fawn, chocolate brown and jet black. The wool is mainly used in jumpers and Quilts. Alpaca spit! Usually alpacas don’t kick or bite but they are very good spitters. Because alpacas chew cud the spit is regurgitated green grass and smells horrible! They will spit at each other but rarely at people. They will kick backwards if they fear a threat from behind.
Alpacas and other animalsAlpacas live in herds (ranging in number from two to 400 in Aust.) and bond well with other animals. They don’t mind dogs if they are not aggressive but dislike foxes. Individual alpacas often run with sheep and goats to act as fox guards.