There's a lot to learn about llamas and alpacas. We've gathered some of the most often asked questions below. If you have any additional questions, let us know!
Q. What is the difference between a llama and an alpaca?
A. Llamas tend to be slightly taller than alpacas. They also have what are called "banana ears" that are much longer than an alpacas. Typically, the fiber from a llama is somewhat more coarse than that of an alpaca.
Alpacas are more "short and stout" than their llama cousins. Their ears and muzzles are often shorter than a llamas.
Q. Do llamas and alpacas really spit?
A. Yes! Since llamas and alpacas can't talk, they use spit as a way to say, "Hey, back off!" to each other when they think someone's getting more grain than them, to show they're upset, or to claim their dominance over one another. Humans can unfortunately get caught in the "spit-fire" sometimes.
Their spit consists of rumen, their acidic stomach juices. Yes, it does stink really bad.
Q. What do llamas and alpacas eat?
A. Llamas and alpacas love to graze in the pasture eating up all the greenery they can. They also eat hay, grain, and of course their favorite, carrots. Just ask Sugar Ray, the llama, about how much he, I mean "they", love carrots!
Q. What is the gestation period for a llama or alpaca? What do you call their young?
A. Llamas and alpacas are pregnant 11.5 months (350 days). Their young are technically called "cria", but we like to name them things like Beethoven, Kemo Sabe, A Boy Named Sioux, etc. At Wier World, names for crias born on the farm are usually chosen based on the animal's personality or events surrounding their birth.
Q. What can you use the fiber of a llama or alpaca for?
A. The fiber from these animals can be used for a variety of different things. Most commonly, the fiber is spun into yarn and then used for knitting. Creating fabric out of the fiber is becoming increasingly popular, which can be used to make sweaters, socks, etc.
Alpaca and llama fiber is actually warmer than sheep's wool, it's un-itchy and it is also hypoallergenic because it does not contain lanolin, a substance that is secreted by sheep to make their coats water repellent.
Q. Do llamas and alpacas make any sounds?
A. Yes! Both llamas and alpacas make humming sounds, new moms especially. The mama llamas and alpacas like to hum to their cria as a way of saying, "Hey, I'm over here. Never fear, because your mama is here!"
There are also warning sounds. These warning sounds are often heard when there is a predator nearby. The "guard" llamas and alpacas will sound their alarm letting the rest of the herd know that there's something nearby that's up to no good.