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Scientific Name: Vicugna pacos

Photo courtesy of ©Richard W. Rokes.


Alpacas resemble small llamas and can weigh up to 185 pounds and stand 3 feet at the shoulders. Males are known as machos and females are called hembras. Females typically reproduce for the first time around 18 months old and males at 2 years. The gestation period is about 11 ½ months and most often a single offspring is born, known as a “cria” until it is weaned at around 6 months. Alpacas make a variety of sounds ranging from soft hums when content within the herd to loud, gargled screams signaling alarm. When competing for food or trying to establish social order, alpacas will occasionally spit at each other. Alpacas can live up to 20 years.


First domesticated in South America, alpacas now live on farms around the world.

Status in the Wild

Alpacas live in groups ranging from pairs to herds, and they thrive in domestic settings.