When it comes to animals, you would be hard-pressed to find a cuter looker than the alpaca. Unless cuddly pandas, cute puppies, and babies yawning doesn’t do it for you, you will agree that the sight of an alpaca – with their big innocent eyes, long necks, and fluffy bodies – can be heartwarming.
But for some reason, the alpaca remains a mystery to most people. Which is understandable really, considering this is not your everyday animal. Not that alpacas are endangered creatures (thankfully), but as much as their numbers have proliferated in recent years, most people haven’t had a chance to see one up-close.
It’s little wonder that some mistake alpacas for llamas; or baby camels even! Yes, they all belong within the camel family – alongside the vicuna, another close cousin. In fact, they are the smallest members of the family. But the alpaca is a species unto its own.
So, what’s the deal with these adorable guys?
Beyond the Looks
“Alpaca” and “cute” are two words that often go together. Their looks are what you would call arresting – slightly awkward even – but soul-stirring nevertheless.
But there’s more to this unique animal than just the adorable looks.
There’s a widely-held misconception that alpacas are wild animals. They were originally bred from wild vicuna, sure; but in truth, the majority of alpacas today are domesticated and live in ranches and farms.
Alpacas are primarily found in South America but have been adopted the world over, so don’t be surprised to find them in different countries, whether it’s in North America, Europe, or some pockets of Asia. They are that adaptable.
Alpacas are ruminants reared for their lustrous wool, but the love affair with these delightful creatures have seen many people adopt them as pets.
Good thing is, alpacas make for wonderful pets, provided they are treated well. They are gentle and docile by nature and once you earn their trust, are receptive and make for affectionate companions.
While the need to get all cuddly with these affable creatures can be huge once you establish a bond with them, it’s worth keeping in mind that they are livestock animals at the end of the day.
That means they will not always thirst for your attention like your cat or dog does. These are animals that need their space from time to time. Which should not be a problem as their quarters will be in the barn anyway, not inside the house.
Make regular visits part of the routine, and everyone stays happy.
Alpacas are extremely receptive once you form that bond with them.
If you are planning to have an alpaca as a pet, there are few facts you need to know.
First, alpacas come in two different breeds. The Huacaya has shorter fluffy wool like a teddy bear’s. It differs from the Suri which comes with a long-fibered, wavy fleece that hangs off its body.
Regardless of breed, it pays to know that alpacas are a social lot. They tend to thrive in herds and don’t do too well in solitary confinement. For this reason, it’s not recommended to rear a lone alpaca. Three is the magic number if you intend to keep them as pets.
They do get along well with other animals, whether that be fellow livestock such as cattle, goats, and sheep, or pets like cats and dogs. While these all serve as good company for alpacas, in an ideal world, it’s best to pair them with fellow alpacas. Or llamas.
Don’t worry, they are not the biggest feeders so are easy to maintain. Heck, they even use a communal restroom. Whether it’s poop or pee, alpacas all “go” in the same spot (there’s a fun fact!).
Alpacas are famed for their wool which is considered the second-strongest after mohair. It’s soft, plush, and does not retain water.
For us, this magnificent animal is central to everything we are as a brand, down to the name. Our story and connection to the Alpaca runs far and deep. Our diverse catalogue is virtually tethered to these delightful animals in its entirety.
We believe there is no better way to tell their story than sharing it through the spectrum of products fashioned from the animal’s rich wool (sustainably of course), one of the rarest and most unique in the world. This is why it’s our hope that you love the products as much as we love creating them for you.
As the Alpaca’s biggest ambassador, it’s a tag we are super proud to wear on our sleeve.