Is That an Alpaca or Llama

Is That an Alpaca or Llama

Ariel, Editor

You see a beautiful, tall, and fluffy-looking animal taking a stroll in the distance. It is making a hilarious face and two animals pop into your mind. After watching it for a bit longer, you say, “Is that a llama or an alpaca?” Ugh, hearing those words make me want to write a whole paper on it. Well, that’s what I’m about to do. I believe telling the difference is very important because they are unique in their own ways, and they are both very important animals. It takes some real expertise to be able to tell the difference, and after this you will know everything you need to know!  

People tend to get confused with alpacas and llamas, but their looks are actually very different. Llamas are generally larger than alpacas. Alpacas average in  weight at about 150 pounds while llamas weigh somewhere between 300-400 pounds. Also, llamas are about 10 inches taller than alpacas. Alpacas have tiny round heads with straight pointed ears, and llamas have long faces with banana shaped ears. The quality of their fur also differs greatly. Alpacas were bred for fiber, or what we call super fluffy fur. Alpacas are most of the time fuzzier too. Llama’s were not bred for the quality of their fur, so they do not produce a lot of it. It is also not very soft, so if you ever pet both animals at the same time, you will for sure know which one is which. On the left is an alpaca, and on the right is a llama.


Alpacas and llamas also act and sound differently. Llamas are very intelligent and mellow unless bothered. Alpacas are very vocal and even sometimes picky about their needs and requirements. However, they are very sweet and interact well with people, including children. The question is which one spits. Sadly, and disgustingly the both do. This only occurs if provoked or filled with fear. Alpacas don’t usually spit; they aren’t good at it, and it is kind of like being sneezed on. On the other hand, llamas can get you, and it’s really gross. It is not as big as people make it seem because it doesn’t happen very often. Now, if you ever see an alpaca or llama-looking animal taking one of these actions you’ll know what category it goes in.

Alpacas and llamas have been bred for certain qualities of the last 6,000 years. Alpacas were mainly bred for fiber, and llamas were bred for work. Not only you can tell the difference between the two, but also you are able to tell if your belongings are made of alpaca or llama fur. It’s actually even easier to tell the difference this way.  The reason is because llamas’ coat are not used for objects, only alpacas. Alpacas’ coat is made for clothing and rugs, and people who are allergic to wool from sheep are better off with alpaca fur. Alpacas have a lot of it,, but it is very expensive. Another way to tell the difference is to see how both animals are used. As already said, alpacas are bred for their fur, but llamas are usually used for work. They can be used for packing, pulling, and farm guarding. Alpacas do not stand a chance against predators, but llamas can kill wolves, coyotes, and dogs. Llamas can also handle a lot of weight, and they are used to travel across tough terrain. You can find both of these animals commonly in south america, and at farms and petting zoos. So next time you see a beautiful, tall, and fluffy-looking animal taking a stroll in the distance at your local petting zoo, you will know if it’s an alpaca or llama. Congrats!