Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park

Alpaca

Most people do not know that Alpacas are, in fact, the smallest member of the camelid (camel) family. They are slender-bodied animals with a graceful stride and large ears, and the colour of their coat ranges from white, to ginger, brown, or black.

Alpacas can survive in various climates and have been introduced to eco systems all over the world but are native to the high-altitude regions of South America, predominantly Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and northern Chile. Their diet consists mainly of grass and hay, but they like nibbling on just about anything.

They are social animals living in herds with an alpha male overseeing the usually large territories they inhabit. These alpha males often accept females with their young into their herd for protection. Alpacas are generally known to be excellent herd guards, protecting not only their own, but also other small animals living around them from foxes and other predators. In case of attacks by intruders, they emit a high-pitched bray, and – should this not suffice to scare them off – will fight by biting with their front teeth and spitting.

Alpacas are polygynous, one male mating with a number of females. They mate all year round, and pregnancies last 11 or 12 months. They give birth to a single baby and mothers nurse their young for 6 months.