Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Be a Nature Detective: Alpaca vs. Llama

By Diane Chase


What is the difference between an alpaca and llama? Well, there are quite few.

Though alpaca and llama are related (they're kissing cousins) the llama can weigh up to 3 times that of an alpaca. Alpaca and llama come from Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. Since they are a hardy breed many people in the Adirondacks breed them for a variety of purposes. 


Alpaca are more timid while the llama are brave

Llama are used more extensively as pack animals

You may see alpaca and llama in the same field because the llama will protect the alpaca. Llama serve as herd guards.

Llama's have a course fleece while alpaca's fleece is soft, fine and seen as hypoallergenic. Alpaca have been domesticated and breed for their fleece for thousands of years.

Llama has ears that are shaped like bananas while the alpaca's ears are smaller and

The two breeds can be interbreed but there is no purpose as the offspring would not be as strong as the llama or have as luxurious a coat as the alpaca.

Alpaca have smaller heads.

Both llama and alpaca babies are called cria "cree-ah" and as a pack are called a herd of...


There are many farms in the Adirondacks that welcome visitors. 

Adirondack Alpaca Breeders Association

Adirondack Evergreen Alpaca in Plattsburgh

AlpacaNation in Remsen

AuSable Valley Alpacas in Upper Jay

Elfenwood Alpacas in Au Sable Forks

High Peaks Alpacas

Jay Mountain Alpaca in Jay

Mountain Meadow Farm

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