Alpaca and Llama differences are subtle. They are both Camelids from South America and look similar. We understand how confusing it may be, but there are distinct characteristics that will help you to tell them apart.
Alpaca vs Llama
The alpaca is a fine fiber bearing animal and not really used for anything else. A Llama, also, has fiber that can be used but it is much coarser, although it does have a soft undercoat that is fine and is used by spinners.
Alpacas are very much herd animals and must be with their herdmates. Alpacas that are kept by themselves do not usually do well. You should always have at least two alpacas together for companionship.
Llamas are more independent and often you will see only one llama on a farm. A llama by its self will often fair quite well.
A Llama is a much larger animal. They have been used as guard animals for alpacas. It is really not recommened though. Get a dog for guarding. Their larger size makes them great as a pack animal. They are also used for pulling carts.
An alpaca is approximately half the size of a llama. Too small to use for carting or packing. Although, we have heard of people using two alpacas to pull a cart. An alpacas main function is to grow beautiful fleece.
They have other physical differences besides their size. An alpaca has straight ears. A llama has curved ears, often called banana shaped. A llamas back is straighter which makes them good for packing.
They both spit. This may be a myth, but we have heard that Llamas will spit purposefully at humans. Alpacas usually don't direct their spit at you, but you can get caught in a spit fest between two alpacas. We don't own Llamas, so can not verify that this is true.
Since so many people mix up these camelids, we put together a video to show off the differences between the two.
Llama pictures courtesy of Rangemore Llama Farm.
Now that you know the difference, send some
Alpaca Christmas Cards
to friends and family for a unique greeting this season.
Hopefully this video helped you to understand the difference between the Alpaca and Llama.