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World of Camelids (Camels)

This WORLD is represented by the Alpaca, one of the smallest in the Camel family and closely related to other South American Camelids the Vicuna, Llama and Guanaco.

Common Name:        Alpaca

Genus/Species:         Vicuna pacos


Andes of central Peru to western Bolivia.

Natural Habitat:

Alpine grassland, meadows and marshes.

Physical Appearance:

Physical appearance may slightly vary depending on geographic area. The Alpaca is basically a Vicuna with hair.  Domesticated, but too small to carry heavy loads, alpacas are raised for their heavy coats of long fine wool and in South America for their meat.


Alpacas are seasonal breeders and mate lying down on their chests, copulation lasting 10 ‑ 20 minutes. They are induced ovulators, give birth to only a single offspring in a standing position and neither lick the newborn nor eat the afterbirth. The newborn is mobile and following its mother within 15 ‑ 30 minutes. The female comes into heat again 24 hours after birth, but usually does not mate for two weeks.

STATUS in Natural Habitat:

Stable. There are some wild herds.

Cool Fact:

Alpacas are most closely related to the vicuna. They are the smallest domesticated camelid.


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