I'm often asked, "What's the difference between llamas and alpacas?" At first glance, llamas may look similar to their camelid cousin the alpaca, but there are a number of differences between these two South American animals.
- Their ears: Llamas have much longer, banana-shaped ears Alpaca ears have short spear-shaped ears
- Their size: Alpacas generally weigh in at around 150 pounds while llamas can
get as heavy as 400 pounds. At the shoulder, an average alpaca stands
between 34 and 36 inches, while a llama generally ranges between 42 and
- Their faces: Llamas have a longer face; an alpaca’s face is a bit more blunt, giving them a “smooshed in” look.
- Their purpose: For more than 5,000 years alpacas have been bred for fiber (and
in Peru for meat as well), while llamas have been bred for the same
amount of time as pack animals and meat.
- Their hair: The alpaca produces a much finer fiber than the llama. The alpaca
also produces more fleece than its larger cousin and in a much greater
variety of colors. Llamas also generally do not have as much hair on
their head and face as alpacas do.
- Their dispositions: Llamas are often used as guard animals for alpacas, sheep, and
other small livestock. Alpacas are very much herd animals and tend to be a more skittish than llamas