Llamas and Alpacas: What Is the Difference?

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There are many differences between llamas and alpacas, with their physical appearances being the most obvious.

Here are some of the main differences that exist between llamas and alpacas.

  • A llama is approximately twice the size of an alpaca. Most llamas weigh approximately 200 to 350 lbs while alpacas usually weigh between 100 and 175 pounds when they are fully grown.
  • A llama has long banana-shaped ears while alpacas have short spear-shaped ones.
  • A llama’s back is long and straight with a high-set tail on the other hand, an alpaca has a shorter back that tends to round at the rump with a low-set tail.
  • Llamas have a coarse outer coat and a soft inner coat while alpacas have a very fine single
    coat.
  • Alpacas produce much more fiber per animal than llamas (despite their smaller size). This is due to the fact that the alpaca has been bred specifically as a luxury fiber-producing animal while the llama has been bred as a pack-carrying animal.

When it comes to similarities, both animals are friendly, curious and easily trained and handled. They are both herd animals who prefer the company of their own species. They can be interbred to produce fertile offspring however these offspring will not be as strong as a llama nor have the beautiful fleece of an alpaca therefore most breeders do not see a point in interbreeding.

Image by Alpaca