Llama or Alpaca – Can You Tell The Difference?

llamas and alpacas

Hey Guys, Olivia here with some interesting info on llamas.

If you have read Operation Golden Llama, you know llamas feature heavily within the book, although, to be honest we are never sure whether we are seeing llamas, alpacas or baby llamas.

I hate to admit it, but before going to Peru, I didn’t really know too much about llamas either, and definitely couldn’t tell them apart from an alpaca. Of course, Lissy told us they could grow up to six feet and spit up to eight, but that didn’t come in too handy when trying to identify them.

Since then I’ve done some research and here are three sure fire ways for you to tell the difference.

1. The ears. Llamas have very distinct banana shaped ears, whereas alpacas have short pointy ears.

2.  From the side llamas have much longer faces which have little hair, whereas alpacas faces are kind of squished and have a large tuft of hair hanging from their forehead.

3.  Llamas also are about twice as big as alpacas. Alpacas can weigh up to 175 pounds, llamas up to 350.

The following information won’t help you identify a llama or an alpaca, but is kind of fun to know.

Llamas were bred primarily as a pack animal whereas alpacas were bred mainly for the soft fibre they produce which comes in more colors than any other animal used for fleece, twenty-two to be precise.

Despite the size difference, alpacas produce far more fleece than a llama due to the denseness of their coats.

Alpacas are, on the whole, shy, quiet animals that are very intelligent, easy to train and like to belong to a herd. Llamas are far more solitary animals. Both animals are kind, curious and gentle, however alpacas are more skittish and llamas tend to be mellower and easier to bond with.

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