Species Of The Week Number 21: Alpaca

This week we're deviating from our usual wild flora and fauna to highlight one of the more prominent mammals you can see along the Meanwood Valley: the alpacas at @meanwoodfarm

As you enter the farm through the main entrance or cycle path, the alpacas are usually the first animals you will see.

Alpacas are part of the camelid family which also includes camels and llamas.

In South America, there are 2 wild species of camelid: the guanaco, from which the llama descends, and the vicuña, from which the alpaca descends. Both of these species live at high altitudes.

Alpacas were originally domesticated in Peru for their meat and for their fleece and to this day, the vast majority of the world's alpacas are found there.

Around 90% of alpacas worldwide - including the Meanwood boys - are of the Huacaya breed, which has soft and fluffy fibre. The other 10% are Suri, which has long, straight fibre.

They feed on pasture grass as well as hay and they have no teeth in the top front area of their mouths!

Alpacas are commonly confused with llamas, who are much larger, with coarser hair (considered less desirable) and more elongated faces. Due to their larger size they are more often used as pack animals. Alpacas tend to be a bit more timid and gentle than llamas too.

The @meanwoodfarm alpacas are called Eric and Bertie, Eric being the smaller and Bertie the larger one.

If you visit this half term, there's an alpaca-themed self-guided trail for families that you can take part in!

Posted on 12 February, 2023 21:35 by clunym clunym


No comments yet.

Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments