Llamas and Alpacas - Cute Camelids with Big Personalities

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Llama and Alpaca Cool Facts

Though llamas and alpacas are different in many ways, they do have things in common. They are both members of the camel family, which makes them camelids. Native to the Andean Mountains in South America, these domesticated, herbivorous animals are kept as either livestock or pets.

Anyone that has not encountered llamas or alpacas before may not know which is which. But there are as many differences between them as there are similarities.

Physical Differences

Llamas and alpacas don’t have convenient markings that make them easy to tell apart, but they do have distinctive physical characteristics:

  • The ears of an alpaca are shorter and pointier than the long ears of a llama.
  • The height difference is significant, with an alpaca standing up to 3 ft tall at the shoulder while a llama might make 4 ft.
  • The weight difference is greater still, with alpacas weighing up to 145 lbs and llamas reaching 250 lbs.
  • The face differs markedly between the two animals. Alpacas have short and cute furry faces while llamas have a longer snout. Alpacas have thick shaggy hair on their faces, too, unlike a llama.
  • The hair of an alpaca is finer than the hair of a llama. A llama has a soft inner coat, but its outer coat is coarser than the soft fleece of an alpaca.

Personalities

Llamas are social, confident, and alert animals with independent personalities. Alpacas are shy, slightly nervous herd animals, but they have a natural sense of curiosity.

Llamas and alpacas get along well together. Sometimes llamas act as guards and protect alpaca herds. Both species are generally friendly towards humans.


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