Alpacas belong to the camel family; they are generally furry and have adorable faces. Their existence dates back 6000 years, when they were reared for food, fuel, and fiber. They fall under class ungulates, a group of animals with long necks and large bodies.
Alpacas are often confused with llamas, and they generally look alike save for the furry coat of the alpaca and longer and pointier ears.
For millennia alpacas were domesticated for food, fuel, and fiber. Their fluffy coats are shown to make warm, soft textiles. They are natives of the Andes mountain in Bolivia and Colombia but are wildly rare in the United States, Australia, and United Kingdom. Here are some fun facts about alpacas.
- In the 16th century, the Spanish invasion of South America cut down the alpaca population by 90%.
- Alpacas can breed all year round.
- During the mating season, alpaca males will chase after the female alpaca until they sit down in a position of acceptance with the legs tucked; it is called the cush or kush position.
- Alpacas are shaved once a year before summer or during spring.
- There are two breeds of alpaca reared: the Suri and Huacaya alpacas. The Huacaya breed has soft fur, while the Suri breed has long corkscrew-like fur.