Alpaca and Llama to me were the same animals, maybe one male and the other female, I never knew and I believe most of you don’t too. Did some findings and research and got to know their difference. So we’ll be looking at the difference between alpaca and llama.
Alpacas and llamas belong to the same family (camelidae). Though they belong to the same family, these animals are quite different in many respects or ways. Let’s get to it, you’ll never mix them up again.
- Uses of alpaca
- Uses of llama
- Difference between alpaca and llama
- Tabular difference between alpaca and llama
- Characteristics of alpaca
- Characteristics of llama
- More difference
- The bottom line
Alpacas are very ancient animals. They were domesticated by the Incas almost 6000 years ago. They are reared for their magnificent fleece and wool. Alpacas are slender-bodied animals.
They have long legs and necks with small ears and an almost squished mouth. Their average weight is about 60kgs and their average height coming to around 3 feet.
There are two types of alpacas in the world. Suri and Huacaya. The Suri has long fibers that are extremely silky. The Huacaya has woolly, thick, and ruffled fleece.
Alpacas come in different colors and vary from brown, white, black, tan, and grey. Alpacas are found only in central and Southern Peru and Western Bolivia.
They are limitedly distributed. This makes the demand for their fleece high. The alpacas’ fleece is exceptionally lightweight and strong. It is brilliant and luminous with high resistance to rain and snow.
Alpacas tend to live in marshy grounds with an altitude of 4000-4700 feet. They have adapted to the limited oxygen found in this region and have a high number of red blood cells.
Alpacas hum a lot. It is the most common sound they make. They hum when they are happy, inquisitive, stressed, anxious or disturbed, bored, etc.
They are lean-bodied animals. They have long necks as well as ears with short tails and a small head.
They are herbivorous animals. They feed on grass and other plants. Like cows, they regurgitate their food and eat it as cud. They don’t require a lot of water. This makes them perfect to use in rigid mountainous terrains with sparse vegetation.
When they are agitated or nervous, they spit. It helps them show dominance.
They are pack animals that can be saddled with about a weight of about 70 pounds.
With such weight, they can cover a distance of about 18 miles. Llamas are disposed of animals but only till a certain point.
If the weight they are carrying is too much, they will refuse to move. Most of the time, they will lie down until the weight is reduced. Llamas will also spit if they are irritated too much.
Uses of alpaca
- Alpacas are raised for their fiber, their fleece is softer, stronger and warmer (at the same weight) than sheep’s wool.
- In the early 14th century, they were used for religious ceremonies.
- Also raised by farmers for money. Money from selling their fleece or from selling their young (Cria), and in rare cases, their meat (Viande).
Uses of llama
- Llamas are used primarily as guard animals, especially against large predators like bobcats and coyotes.
- Other than being guard animals, llamas can serve as pets they’re really good around children.
- Also serve as business for farmers as they make profit from llama sales.
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Difference between alpaca and llama
The ears of alpacas are straight and pointed while that of the llamas are shaped like bananas. So never mix them up. You can clearly see the difference from the photo.
Llamas have no wool, they just have hairs that serve as protection and covering. On the other hand, alpacas are bred purely for their luxurious wool, which is one of the finest in the world with different beautiful colors.
The llama’s hair or fleece is coarse to feel while that of alpacas are soft and silky to feel.
The face of an alpaca has more fuzz and wool than that of llama which doesn’t have much hair. Apart from the hair features, we can clearly see that llama’s got long face while and alpaca’s face is a bit more blunt, giving them a funny and unique expression.
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Llamas are bigger in size than alpacas. A mature llama can weigh from 250 to 450 pounds and grow as tall as 6feet (taller than some of us). Alpacas on the other hand have a mature weight of around 100 to 180 pounds and grow as tall as 5feet
Llamas have been nicknamed the “ship of the Andes”. Their back are very suitable to carry heavy weights for long distances.
Alpacas on the other hand are all wool and you dare not put nothing on them, they’re too fragile for that. They literally can carry nothing, not even a baby.
Alpacas are very gentle and shy while Llamas are very confident and brave animals.
Alpacas can’t protect themselves, and need protection. Llamas are brave and can protect and will protect themselves. Often times alpacas and llamas are put together to live, so that the latter can protect the former. This is lovely.
Alpacas are very intelligent and can learn tricks. The llamas kinda seem too proud or maybe confident and arrogant for learning tricks.
Tabular difference between alpaca and llama
|Ears||Straight and pointed ears.||Have banana shaped ears.|
|Wool||They’re bred for their wool.||Have no wool, just hairs that serve as protection.|
|Face||Small hairy face with fuzz and wool.||Does not have much hair, and have longer face.|
|Size||Alpacas normally have a mature weight of about 100-180lbs and grow as tall as 5ft.||Llamas are usually bigger in size with a mature weight of about 250-450lbs and grow as tall as 6ft.|
|Purpose||Alpacas are mainly raised for the purpose of wool.||Llamas can be used to carry goods on their back for some period of time.|
|Personality||Very gentle and shy animals.||Very confident and brave animals.|
|Strength||They are really soft animals and need protection.||Llamas are sometimes raised with alpacas to serve as source of protection to them.|
|Character||Very intelligent and can learn tricks.||They’re proud animals and won’t learn no tricks.|
|Looks||Alpacas appear more attracting than llamas.||Llamas are attracting, but not as attracting as alpacas.|
Characteristics of alpacas
- They have slender body.
- Long neck and legs.
- From their looks, they have small heads.
- Characterized by short tails.
- Also characterized by pointed ears.
- They stand about 90cm at the shoulder.
- Mature animals weigh 54-65 kg.
- Most important for wool production.
- Characterized by soft fleece or fiber covering their bodies.
Characteristics of llamas
- They have long faces.
- Mainly used for work and can carry loads of about 45-60 kg on an average of 25-30 km travel a day.
- They hiss, spit, kick and refuse to move when stressed.
- They have camel like body shape but without the humps of the Bactrian and dromedary camel.
- 70% of llamas are found in Bolivia.
- They feed on grass and like cows, they chew it as cud.
More difference between alpaca and llama
- Alpacas are more beautiful than llamas
- Alpacas can be used as pet animals
The bottom line
Alpacas and llamas are two different animals, they are of the same family (camelid) just like the guanacos and vicunas. They all have similarities, but they’re all different animals. Read the article if you missed the differences.