Alpacas are a close cousin of the Llama. Smaller in stature and bred for their fleece, alpacas are docile animals that live and graze in the high fields of the Andes in South America. Alpaca fleece is woven or knitted together to make blankets, ponchos, socks, hats, scarves, and even coats. It doesn’t hurt an alpaca to be sheared for fleece – it’s just like getting a haircut.
Like you, alpacas are mammals, meaning they are warm-blooded and give live birth. They are sociable herd animals, and like to have company. As grazing animals, they like to eat grass and hay but will chew on just about anything.
Alpacas are part of the camel family, and can spit when upset. Usually this tactic is reserved for other alpacas. If an alpaca is frightened or upset, he will make a short, high-pitched bray. If an alpaca is excited or feeling friendly, he will make a clucking sound or hum. Be sure to wait until one of our zookeepers tells you it’s okay to approach any of the animals at the Long Island Game Farm.