5 Things You Didn’t Know About Alpacas

about alpacas

Most people know that these cute, furry llama cousins are native to some regions of South America, that they are used as pack animals, and that their fur is prized for its silkiness. However, there’s probably a lot you don’t know about alpacas.

Whether you love their adorable pouts and wide eyes or you’re interested in keeping domestic alpacas on your farm, there are a few things you might be surprised to learn about this member of the Camelidae family.

About Alpacas 1: They are Hypoallergenic

Pet allergies are not uncommon. These days animal breeds like hypoallergenic cats and dogs can cost a small fortune.

The same is not true of the trusty alpaca, whose fur naturally lacks the lanolin content that some attribute to itchiness. Whether you want to hug an alpaca or make a sweater from its fur, you’re unlikely to suffer the same itching and redness caused by other types of animal fleece.

About Alpacas 2: Their Fleece is Water and Flame Resistant

Not only is alpaca fur given a Class 1 rating by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission thanks to its flame resistant nature, but the fact that alpaca fleece is also somewhat moisture wicking makes it a lightweight alternative to sheep’s wool and a warm alternative to cotton.

About Alpacas 3: Alpacas are Colorful Creatures

No, we’re not talking about their personalities, although they are known to be a somewhat fun-loving and mischievous species. We’re talking about their fur, which has been classified in a whopping 16 different shades.

About Alpacas 4: They can be House Trained

Most people don’t realize that alpacas behave more like cats than dogs when it comes to waste elimination. They tend to prefer a communal dung heap.

This is most likely due to the fact that alpaca males smell female waste to determine the proper time for breeding. It works in your favor, though, because you can select an appropriate spot for an alpaca outhouse, so to speak.

About Alpacas 5: Alpacas are Quite Useful

Not only can they carry your packs and provide you with valuable fur, but a herd of alpacas could also replace your lawnmower. Unlike sheep, which tend to pull up grass at the roots, Alpacas behave more like goats by chopping blades of grass.

While some people keep alpacas as family pets, many around the world rely on them as a means of earning a living. Whether you create beautiful clothing from their fur, they help you to haul your goods to market, or you rent out your herd for landscaping and brush control, there are few animals more practical to own than alpacas.