About Alpacas

The foothills of the South American Andes Mountains were the ancestral home to the alpacas until the Spanish Conquistadors came in 17th century and forced the Alpacas to move high into the mountains for safety. The high altitude caused only the strongest to survive which are the ancestors of those animals first brought to North American in 1984.

The largest number of Alpacas live in Chile, Bolivia, and Peru. They are a member of the camelid family, which includes Dromedary and Bactrian Camels, Llamas, Vicunas, and Guanacos. They chew their cud similar to a cow, although they have three stomachs rather than the true ruminant, which has four. Alpacas selectively graze on grasses and hay, which makes feeding them relatively inexpensive.

There are two types of alpacas, the Suri, which has silky dreadlocks and the Huacaya, which has a crimped looking fir.

Alpacas stand about 36" high to the shoulder and weigh between 100-175lb on the average. Alpacas carry a baby (called a Cria) for about a year before giving birth and they usually weigh about 15-20 lbs.