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by Kelley Hobart December 05, 2018 2 min read

We're often asked what the difference is between Alpacas and Llamas.  Both llamas and alpacas are south american camelids and they are related but definitely not the same.  In addition to these camelids, in South America there are also Vicunas and Guanacos but for this article we'll just be comparing Alpacas and Llamas.

Here are 6 quick ways to tell the difference between an Alpaca and a Llama. 

1. Size - Llamas are much larger than alpacas often weighing up to 400 pounds. Alpacas are smaller, normally weighing between 120 and 150 pounds.  This was something we considered when we started our alpaca ranch since we had younger children and we felt alpacas would be easier to handle. That said, we have known other ranches that had both alpacas and llamas and the llamas were very sweet and the owners had no issues with having the these larger animals on their ranch.  Likewise, we've had some male alpacas that were quite feisty and we always made sure our children were closely supervised when they were around them. 

2. Ears - Alpacas have straight, pointed ears while Llamas have long banana shaped ears.  

3. Face - Alpacas have cute, blunt nose faces, normally with a lot of fur. Llamas have longer noses and much less fur on their face. 

4. Personality - Alpacas are shy herd animals and stick together when threatened by a predator. Llamas are independent and more confident when threatened. This is why you may hear of alpaca ranchers having a 'Guard llama' to protect their alpaca herd. The llama will live peacefully with the alpacas and protect them if threatened by a predator. 

5. Fiber - Alpaca has fine, soft fiber, normally 18-30 microns. This fiber is excellent for alpaca garments like shawls, hats and socks. Llama fiber is more coarse, normally 50-65 microns and not as suitable for garments.  One exception is baby llama fiber which can be very soft and below 30 microns so it has a similar feel to alpaca.  

6. Purpose - Alpaca have been bred for 1000's of years for their fine fleece. Llamas are work animals bred as pack animals and to help guard other livestock. . Both alpacas and llamas have a place on the ranch and on the prairies and both fulfil their roles well. 

We love alpaca for the wonderful garments we can produce with it. That is why we work with our suppliers in Peru to bring you the finest alpaca socks and  apparel at the most reasonable prices.  Hence, our name...Alpaca Direct! 

Here's a quick video where Kelley describes some our our alpaca apparel and socks. 

Interested in experiencing alpaca yourself?

View All Our Products Here



Kelley Hobart
Kelley Hobart

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