Who are Alpaca and Llama? What is the difference? After almost a year of living in Peru, it became very interesting for me to understand this. So, alpaca and llama are animals of the camel family, whose homeland is the highlands of the Andes of South America. Before coming to Latin America, I personally had not heard anything about the alpaca, and I had a vague idea of the lama. But it turns out that these are different animals and their purpose is also completely different.
Llama vs Alpaca | Whats the difference
This is one of the most noticeable differences: the llama’s ears are long and shaped like a banana. In alpacas, they are small and look like the point of a spear.
- Muzzle shape
Both animals belong to the camelid family and in many respects they have similar features of the muzzle, but not their shape. If in a llama its shape is more elongated, then in an alpaca it is more flattened. In addition, alpacas have a lot more hair on their faces.
- The size
Llamas are about twice the size of alpacas – 180 and 100 cm, respectively. The difference in weight is exactly the same: an adult alpaca weighs 45-80 kg, and a llama – 90-160 kg.
Alpacas are quite shy and shy, and they rarely bite and spit. In turn, llamas are famous for the fact that if you come close to them, they can spit or even bite.
- Herd instinct
Alpacas live in a herd, while llamas are more independent and sometimes prefer to be alone. But they are much easier to tame. Moreover, very often llamas are used as shepherds for alpacas.
Alpaca’s coat is very soft, while the llama’s is coarser. At the same time, more wool can be obtained from one alpaca, because it is denser.
- Benefits for humans
For 5-6 thousand years, alpacas have been bred for only one purpose – wool. During the same time, llamas are bred, but not for wool, but as “porters”. Llamas have a straight and strong back, which allows them to be used for transporting things.
Alpacas and llamas were born from the domestication of different animals. So, for example, the ancestor of the alpaca is the vicuña, and the llama is the guanaco. Moreover, if you cross an alpaca and a llama, you get a wariso, but this animal does not have a strong back and such a wool cover as its parents.