Monday, October 28, 2013

Creature Feature #13: Alpaca

The Alpaca of Peru is a domesticated species - there are no known wild populations in existence. It has been farmed for thousands of years by the native people of South America, specifically for its thick coat of luxurious fibre, not unlike wool. Small and stockier than their cousins, the llama, alpaca were not bred to be beasts of burden. Instead they are farmed for their coat and, occasionally, their meat. There are over 52 different natural colours available in their “wool”.

They are vocal creatures, that live in large family groups, lead by an alpha male. Although their defensive behaviour is called “spitting” it is more akin to vomitting, as it contains stomach matter. They use a communual dung pile and, allegedly, can be house trained.

This is the first entirely domesticated species I have unwittingly illustrated as part of my Animal Alphabet. When I reach the “V”s I will illustrate their probable ancestor, the Vicuna.

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