LLAMAS VS ALPACAS
I feel this is one of the main skills needed to travel around South America.. You will be able to impress everyone when you pick out that llama in the herd of alpacas on the walk up to Machu Picchu at 4 am. Or everyone might be busy climbing the 1000's of steps...
- Alpacas are a more manageable size standing at about 80-100 cm.
- Alpacas have shorter snouts and shorter ears. So generally a smaller face.
- Alpacas' wool is a lot softer and is a single coat, so they are nicer to stroke, so alpaca wool is used more often than llama wool. In the times of the Incas it was even seen as fit for royalty.
- Alpacas are herd animals like sheep, so don't expect to see too many on their own.
- Alpacas aren't as common as llamas.
Llamas are much taller at about 150 cm to 180 cm.
Llamas have long snouts and 'banana shaped' ears. They are a bit more goofy.
Llamas' wool generally feels rougher but does have a softer under layer.
Llamas are originally bred as pack bearing animals. They are very strong and can carry 30% of their own body weight. This makes them perfect for treks.
Llamas are more solitary and like their space. I understand them.
And if you are still struggling, I like to think, does he look like he needs a good cuddle, or is he ready to carry my bags 10 km and not even break a sweat!
I was also lucky enough to get to hold an alpaca in Cuzco, Peru. It was really nice and the babies are even softer than the grown ups. As we were walking around the streets we suddenly had two enthusiastic Peruvian boys come up to us and ask if we wanted a photo in spanish. I knew a little spanish at the time, so we managed to get this amazing photo, which always makes me smile.