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Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for...

Llamas!


AAaaaaand how they differ from Alpacas!!

Woot!  So this is a fun little topic that I find most people get confused about.  First off, llamas and alpacas are both camelids from South America.  Both animals have been domesticated for about 5,000 years, but for different purposes.  The llama was bred for pack-animal work, where the alpaca was bred for it's super-soft fleece.  When looking at the animals side by side, it is very easy to tell them apart as llamas are almost twice the size of alpacas.

The four to the left are alpacas and the one on the right is a llama.  Another easily spotted difference is the ears.  As you can see, the llamas ears turn inwards toward the tips (often called banana-shaped), and are longer than those of the alpaca. 

The final difference I will mention is the use of llamas for guard use.  Oh yes, llamas are regularly used to guard other pack animals, such as the alpacas above, but they are also used with sheep.  The llama is great for this work because it will literally stomp on the attacking animal in order to protect it's herd.

All in all, both animals are super awesome.  And, through personal experience, they are also very nice animals.  Granted, there are always a few bad apples (spitting, anyone?), but they usually only do it as a show of dominance, so don't sorry about it too much.  Just don't get up in their faces, and you should be fine.