Alpacas have been domesticated for more than 6,000 years. In many civilizations, the fleece of the alpaca was used as a sign of socioeconomic status. You couldn’t wear clothing made from this fleece unless you were either royalty, a noble, or carried some other elite status.
They are related to llamas and other similar animals, but they are also related to camels that are found in Africa and Asia.
Interesting Facts About Alpacas
#1. Alpaca fleece is prized because it has many superior qualities. It is extremely water-resistant and mimics cotton in many aspects. This makes it warmer to wear in cooler climates. It is also heat-resistant, meeting the standards of Class 1 fibers without needing any additional treatment. It lacks the itch of wool thanks to its lack of lanolin, which means it is also a hypo-allergenic product as well.
#2. Alpacas have only two primary species that are recognized in the world today: Huacaya and Suri. Hyacaya alpacas tend to have fleece that is extremely dense, which gives them an appearance that can only be described as “wooly.” Suri alpacas tend to have a fleece that grows longer and with curls that are not as tight.
#3. The textile industry recognizes 16 different colors of alpaca fleece. Blended colors can be made from combining two or more different colors together. This means most alpaca clothing products contain little, if any, textile dyes.
#4. Llamas and alpacas can be bred together. Their offspring is called a “huarizo,” which will produce even longer fleece than either parent.
#5. A curious trait for alpacas involves how they go to the bathroom. Alpacas don’t just drop waste everywhere like most other animals. They use a communal pile instead where everyone in the pack goes. This makes it possible to house train the animal.
#6. Alpacas are not as social as llamas, so they can be kept on their own. They’re often sold in pairs, however, and usually paired with the same gender. Selling breeding pairs is an uncommon practice because this limits the genetic potential for the buyer in time.
#7. Alpacas hum just like cats will purr. They do this any time they are experiencing an emotion. Even negative emotions, such as worry, can cause an alpaca to start humming.
Live Alpaca Cams
Some alpaca farms allow for visitors to stop by whenever they wish. If a farm is not close to you, then viewing an alpaca webcam like these is your next best option. Because most webcams are setup by independent private farmers, the streams may not always be consistent or available.
Alpacas may have useful fleece, but it is their personalities that draw people to them.