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Alpaca Facts


Alpacas are a member of the camelid family and are close relatives to camels, llamas, vicunas, and guanacos. There are two types of alpacas: the Huacaya (wa-kai-a) which is the most common type of Alpaca with a dense and highly crimped fleece that stands straight off of the body much like a sheep and the Suri (sur-ry) which has a longer staple length and has fiber which is straighter with less crimp and is extremely soft and lustrous.


- Alpacas average lifespan ranges from 15-25 years.
- Alpacas average height is 36" at their shoulders.
- Alpacas weigh from 120 to 180 pounds.
- Their average gestation normally ranges from 320 - 345 days.
- The average weight of a newborn alpaca is 15- 20 pounds.
- Alpacas are ruminants like deer and cows with a 3 compartment stomach.
- Alpacas have no teeth on top; instead they have a dental pad and do not bite.
- Alpacas do not typically spit at people unless they are provoked.
- Alpacas were first imported to the United States in 1984 and until 1998.


Bred female
- A pregnant alpaca.

Cria - A baby alpaca, usually younger than 5 months.

Dam - An alpaca’s mother.

Fiber - The fleece of an alpaca.

Huacaya - (wa-kai-a) A type of alpaca with fine fiber and a woolly appearance.

Fiber quality male - A male alpaca whose genetic characteristics are not worthy of breeding but is used for annual fiber shearing.

Sire or herdsire - An alpaca’s father, or a male alpaca with the genetic characteristics desirable for breeding.

Suri - (sur-ry) A type of alpaca with tightly-wound fiber that looks like dreadlocks.

Tui Fleece - The first fleece shorn from an alpaca, always the finest fleece

Weanling - A weaned alpaca, younger than 1 year.

Yearling - An alpaca between 1 and 2 years old.

Updated August 28, 2016