Alpaca vs Llama
These are two exclusive South American camels with characteristic appearances. They exhibit a range of differences between them, and it is always good to be aware of those. The physical characteristics, certain habits, and uses to the human of alpaca and llama would provide a great platform to discuss the important differences between them. This article explores their characteristics and emphasizes those important differences between them.
Alpaca is a small-bodied and domesticated form of the South American camelids with great importance to the humans. They are usually kept at very high altitudes, more than 3,500 metres, of the Andes Mountains in Southern Peru and Northern parts of Ecuador, Bolivia, and Chile. They are one of the earliest to domesticate with humans, and that was more than 5,000 years ago. Additionally, there are no records of any wild alpaca, but it is believed that they descended from the wild vicuña in South America. Usually, the weight of an alpaca could range from 40 to 90 kilograms and the height at their withers is about 4 – 5 feet (1.2 – 1.5 metres). Their ears are small and erected, and their snout is not much long as in many camelids. However, the most important feature of alpacas for humans is their thick and long coat of fur, as it is extremely valuable for its great quality in softness that is useful in many ways as alpaca fibre. Except around their muzzle, eyes, ears, and on hooves the heavily grown fur is the most prominent in alpacas. Therefore, they have a great value for their fibre, but not as a working animal. They are available in many colours, and there are 22 respected colours of their fibre. Alpacas should be kept in groups or herds (at least there should be two) as they are communal animals. Alpacas are famous for their characteristic spitting behaviour. They have an average lifespan of about 18 – 20 years.
Llama is one of the camelids. It is distributed in the South American continent, especially towards the Western and Southern regions. Llamas prefer cold and dry mountainous regions of South America. Their average weight ranges from 130 to 200 kilograms, and the height is about 1.7 – 1.8 metres at withers. They have a thick coat of fur for insulation against the cold. Their ears are of a unique banana shape and erected upwards. Llamas’ feet are narrow, and toes lie more separately than in a camel’s. Reproduction is unique and unusual for a large mammal. Females do not have oestrous cycles, but ovulation occurs whenever a male starts mating. They mate for at least 20 minutes, sometimes more than 40 minutes, in a lying down posture called Kush. The gestation period is about 50 weeks, and the baby llama has a birth weight of nine kilograms. Llamas are, however, domesticated animals, and reared for their meat, wool, and working capacity. They are social animals and love to be around other llamas. In addition, llamas prefer to be around humans as well and love being touched and patted. They are blessed with a long life that goes up to 30 years.
What is the difference between Alpaca and Llama?
• Llama is a larger and heavier compared to alpacas.
• Ears are characteristically banana shaped in llamas, whereas those are small and erected in alpacas.
• Distribution range of llamas is larger compared to alpacas.
• Llamas have been originated in the Central North America, whereas alpacas descended from the South American vicuña.
• Alpacas are reared for their valuable fibre or wool, while llamas are useful for human in many ways including as a working animal and a source of good meat and wool.
• Llamas live longer than alpacas do.
• Both prefer to live in herds, but llamas love being petted by humans while alpacas do not so.