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Huacaya alpaca

Also known as: Vicugna pacos

Alpacas are members of the camelid family, which includes llamas and camels.


Famously known for their fleece, alpacas are shorn once a year to harvest the fleece which is then turned into luxurious clothing. Depending on the type and quality of the alpaca and their fleece, they are worth between one hundred to thousands of pounds. Our alpacas are used to teach animal handling to Capel Manor College students.

As alpacas are indigenous to harsh environments, living in the highest regions of the Andes, they have become extremely hardy animals. They are ‘pseudo ruminants’, meaning they have a three-chambered stomach to utilise low quality food.

Quick facts

Class: Mammal
Size: Up to 91cm tall
Weight: Up to 84kg
Life span: Up to 20 years
Diet: Herbivore
Threats: No threats known
Habitat: Mountain ranges
Distribution: Native to South America, farmland worldwide
Conservation status: Least Concern (LE)

Alpacas are thought to have been domesticated more than 6,000 years ago.