When you think of pets you typically think of dogs, cats and maybe gerbils. We don’t think of llamas and alpacas, which are both related and both spit when upset. They are also related to camels, but you won’t find those here. You might wonder what the difference between the two is, so I stopped and talked to owners of both.
Denise Wambolt and her mother Marcia, from Sunset Ranch in Parker, brought two llamas to the showing. Denise has won the Grand Showmanship with her Appaloosa llamas two years in a row. During the Grand Showmanship, the creatures are judged on how well the trainers work with the llamas as well as answer questions on their pets. A llama’s life span is about 20 years on average and they usually eat grass hay, minerals, grains and require fresh water. The Wambolt family uses their llamas for 4-H, their fur, to carry stuff and sometimes as guard animals. “If a fox is coming, they’ll give out a warning call.” Denise says. Most of the time llamas are calm and good as pets, but they need a large area to live in. What you may not know is that llamas have 6 fighting teeth in case of emergency. Wow!
Kevin and Lisa Derks from High Timber Alpaca Ranch in Conifer had two of their alpacas in the arena hall. Alpacas live to be around 16 years of age on average. They typically eat alpaca grain and hay and are sheered to use the wool they produce to be spun for scarves, hats etc. Alpaca’s are easy to take care of, especially because they choose to use the same spot in the yard to go to the bathroom, unlike a horse or cow. “ They are kind of shy.” claims Lisa. Alpacas are originally from Peru and Bolivia and are judged at the Western Stock Show on how their body is shaped and the quality of their fur. At 150 pounds max, alpacas are very social with each other. Their highly desirable wool can mean they can cost between $500 – $30,000. How cool!
As you can see there are many similarities and differences between llamas and alpacas. For example, llamas can carry supplies and alpacas can’t. Now you know the difference between llamas and alpacas.