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Alpaca? or Camel!

July 11th 2010 21:10
There are a lot of similarities between alpacas and camels.

It is believed that they were once a single species residing up the the north of America. As they moved south, some of them moved across to Asia and Europe, evolving into camels while others continued down to South America and became the species we now know of as Camelids (alpaca, llama, guanaco and vicuna).

Ol' Bob (alpaca)
Ol' Bob (alpaca)

Camelids and camels both have the same padded two toed foot and the same split upper lip. Alpacas and llamas certainly fold up like camels when they sit down - maybe card tables also evolved from camels!

Both species spit and can be quite stubborn and obnoxious on occasion, when things don't go their way (mmmm - there are some people I know who might also have some camel in their ancestry).

Alpacas and llamas don't have the ability to store water though, as camels do. They need to have ready access to drinking water, especially in hot weather. I have noticed that our boys don't drink nearly as much as the girls though, even when the girls aren't nursing. So, they obviously get a lot of the water they need from the pasture as they eat.

I tend to think that alpacas smell a bit better than camels though. Unless they've been having spit fights with each other, their breath is quite sweet and the alpaca sheds at the ag shows always smell better than the other animal sheds. Although this may well be just because after 13 years with these animals I'm accustomed to the smell.

Camel calves look very similar to alpaca and llama crias. Except for the massive difference in size, it would be easy to confuse the two.


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