What’s a Baby Alpaca Called + 13 More Amazing Facts!(Update)

Last updated on March 28th, 2024 at 04:05 pm

Baby alpacas, bashful and fuzzy, are adorable creatures closely related to camels. Remarkably, a baby alpaca can stand just moments after birth. Nevertheless, alpacas are remarkably social creatures. You can interact with them freely, petting and feeding without fear of aggression. Who knows, they might even surprise you with a friendly kiss on the nose!

So, let’s explore thirteen amazing facts about these charming alpaca babies!

Baby Alpaca is sitting on the grass
Image source Flickr by Ahmad Hassan

13 Amazing Facts About Baby Alpaca

#1. Baby alpacas are known as crias and are also used for baby llamas.

#2. The name “cria” originates from Spanish, meaning “baby.” Spanish sailors in the 18th century coined this term after the baby-like ‘mwa’ sound that alpacas make.

#3. Alpacas breed once a year, and their gestation period ranges from 242 to 345 days, approximately 11 months. They typically carry only one offspring at a time.

#4. Crias are usually born in the spring, typically between May and September. Alpaca mothers prefer giving birth during the daytime, allowing the newborns to start nursing before nightfall when temperatures decrease.

#5. A baby alpaca, known as a cria, weighs between 6 to 8 kilograms when born. As adults, they can weigh up to 70 kilograms.

#6. Crias can stand shortly after birth, showcasing their remarkable resilience from the start. However, it’s rare to find alpacas, whether big or small, wandering off alone. If they do stray, they typically don’t stay away for long.

#7. Weaned crias are referred to as weanlings, and their mothers typically wean them between the ages of 6 to 8 months.

#8. Alpaca milk has lower fat and salt content than cow’s milk but is higher in calcium and phosphorus. Due to its lower fat content, crias must suckle frequently to support their growth.

#9. Alpacas are gentle and mild-mannered creatures, though easily frightened. Despite their curiosity and love for solo exploration, they prefer the company of other alpacas. Feeling wary or scared, they often huddle together and move as a group.

#10. A female alpaca, known as a hembra, is typically ready to reproduce when she is between 12 to 15 months old.

#11. Males, known as ‘machos‘, become ready for mating when they reach 30 to 36 months of age. At this age, farms often start offering alpaca studs for sale for breeding purposes or as pets.

#12. Alpacas can live up to 20 years and come in approximately 22 recognized colours. While most alpacas are solid-coloured, some may have blends and variations of colours.

#13. If you hear an alpaca hum, it could mean they’re relaxed. After birth, both the baby and the mother hum repeatedly. Alpacas also make a staccato clicking or snorting sound to alert others of potential danger nearby, or to express discomfort or restlessness.

Does Baby Alpaca Come From An Alpaca Baby?

The term “baby alpacas” pertains to the category of fibre, not the animal’s age. However, it is reasonable to assume that baby alpacas’ fibre comes from younger alpacas due to their finer quality. As alpacas age, their thread becomes coarser, with the most significant decline occurring within the first two years.

The diameter of an alpaca fibre indeed decreases over time, with the most significant decline occurring during the first two years of the animal’s life (as stated in research on ResearchGate). Subsequently, the rate of decrease in fibre diameter becomes less pronounced. As an alpaca ages, its fibre quality gradually diminishes, producing coarser fibres with larger micron sizes.

Baby Alpaca
Image source Flickr by Ahmad Hassan

Baby Alpaca FAQs

1. Where Do Baby Alpacas Live?

Baby alpacas, native to South America, primarily inhabit the Andes mountains at elevations up to 4,800 meters. Although once widespread across Bolivia and the Incan territory, their populations declined with the arrival of the Spanish. Nowadays, they thrive in mountainous, elevated marshy lands. While common in South America, they’re also raised as livestock in Europe, the USA, and Oceania, with around 99% of the population still residing in South America.

2. What Are The Predators Of Baby Alpacas?

In their native Andes region, baby alpacas face threats from canids like domestic dogs, coyotes, and maned wolves. Additionally, regional foxes, Andean condors, and pumas pose risks to both baby and adult alpacas.

3. Are Baby Alpacas And Llamas The Same?

No, baby alpacas and llamas are distinct animals, despite both belonging to the family ‘Camelidae’. While they share similarities and can crossbreed, alpacas are typically smaller than llamas. However, they’re often found together in mixed herds.

4. What do baby alpacas eat?

Baby alpacas rely on their mothers’ milk until they’re about six to nine months old. After weaning, they begin grazing. As herbivores, alpacas consume plant life, including grass, fallen leaves, and even tree bark.

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