Alpacas – The Basics

How big are they? Are they mean? Do they spit? How long do they live? What are they good for?

  • Adult alpacas get to be 150-200 pounds. They stand about three feet tall at the shoulders (withers). They can be five feet tall to the tips of their ears.

  • Babies (crias) usually weigh 15-19 pounds.

  • Alpacas are gentle animals. Unlike most domestic animals, alpacas have never been wild. Their relationship with humans extends back more than 5,000 years. In fact, they may have been the world's first domestic animals.

  • Yes, they spit, but only very, very rarely at humans—unless you get caught in the cross-fire! Most often they spit when they are jostling for position at feeding time or when a female receives unwelcome advances from a male.

  • Alpacas live 15-20 years. although the Lickliders’ herd matron is currently 23 and going strong . . . Amber, the bionic alpaca!

  • Alpaca fiber is softer, stronger, and warmer than wool. Almost all the other US supplies of this kind of luxury fiber, like cashmere, are from foreign sources.