Alpacas are members of the camel family, but unlike their somewhat cantankerous cousins, these shaggy mammals have a docile temperament and are not prone to biting, kicking or indulging in the camel's famous habit of spitting at humans. But like camels, alpacas are herd animals and they do not usually thrive alone. They may become ill without having some company, so they are usually sold in pairs.
Alpacas are easy to keep and maintain and their keepers may be able to sell their fleece, which can be shorn like sheep's wool. Alpaca fleece is renowned for being water-repellent, non-flammable, and hypoallergenic.
More about alpacas:
- Alpacas weigh between 130 and 170 pounds (59 to 77 kilograms) when full-grown, depending on the sex and species.
- There are two types of alpaca: the Huacaya, which has a fine, dense fleece that grows straight out from the body, and the Suri, whose soft fleece grows downward in long locks of hair.
- If a keeper is not intending to breed alpacas, it is recommended to buy either two females or two gelded males to reduce any dominance behavior among the animals. The alpacas should have at least an acre of land upon which they can browse and graze.