Origin of alpaca
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ALPACA VS. LLAMA
What’s the difference between alpacas and llamas?
Alpacas and llamas are closely-related animals, and they look similar, but they are two different species.
They have a lot in common. Both the alpaca and the llama are thought to be domesticated varieties of the wild South American animal known as the guanaco. They are both ruminant animals—hoofed, four-legged mammals that eat grass and other plants. And they both belong to the genus Lama and to the family that also includes camels.
So how are they different?
Alpacas are smaller, with shorter ears. They are much fluffier than llamas, with fuzzy “bangs” that can partly hide their eyes. Their coats are very soft and silky, and they’re usually raised for their fleece, which is used to make very soft yarn or fabric.
Llamas are bigger. They’re known for their strength, endurance, and high thirst tolerance. For this reason, they’re often used as work animals to carry things over long distances.
So, the best way to tell the difference is by size and fluffiness. If it looks big and strong, like it can carry a lot of stuff, it’s probably a llama. If it’s smaller and fluffier, and its fleece looks like it could be used to make really soft mittens, it’s probably an alpaca.
Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between alpacas and llamas.
Quiz yourself on alpacas vs. llamas!
True or False?
Alpacas and llamas are completely unrelated.
How to use alpaca in a sentence
Your hosts, Rob and Donna, live and work on the property and are happy to give you a tour of their ranch, where they raise alpaca and turn the animals’ fiber into yarn.11 Amazing Airbnbs Near the Grand Canyon|Megan Michelson|February 15, 2021|Outside Online
While llamas and alpacas can be found in every state, their populations are largely concentrated in Arizona and the Pacific Northwest.Llamas are hotter than ever. Here’s why.|By Emily Wakild/The Conversation|December 21, 2020|Popular-Science
Male llamas are bred with female alpacas to increase the wool’s weight.Llamas are hotter than ever. Here’s why.|By Emily Wakild/The Conversation|December 21, 2020|Popular-Science
After the Spanish took control of the Inca empire in the 1540s, Spanish rulers viewed llamas and alpacas as beasts of burden or sources of meat.Llamas Are Having A Moment In The US, But They’ve Been Icons In South America For Millennia|LGBTQ-Editor|December 19, 2020|No Straight News
These came from large animals, such as Andean deer and wild relatives of the alpaca.This prehistoric woman from Peru hunted big game|Bruce Bower|December 2, 2020|Science News For Students
At least 50,000 families in the Andean highlands rely on herding alpaca for income and to sustain themselves.
Peruvians have been wearing knits made of alpaca fiber for centuries.
And it was fur of every variety: brushed mohair, alpaca, ponyhair, and astrakhan.Battle of the Giant Furry Mittens: Wang v. Altuzarra|Isabel Wilkinson|February 10, 2013|DAILY BEAST
His right hand rested on his gavel, he thrust his left into the side pocket of his long alpaca coat.A Hoosier Chronicle|Meredith Nicholson
One good moreen skirt did me, with a quilted alpaca for every-day wear and two white ones for best.And So They Were Married|Florence Morse Kingsley
And black silk for Sundays, and a black merino or alpaca for week-days, made short and full, was her unvarying costume.Salome|Emma Marshall
You may flit from brown merino to blue poplin, and from blue poplin to black alpaca, and be queen of all that is tiresome still.A New Atmosphere|Gail Hamilton
I heard him trying to render the stock phrases of Low Church piety into French for the benefit of the stolid man in grey alpaca.Tono Bungay|H. G. Wells