31 May 2017

Alpacas

When I was a kid, we never saw any alpacas in England's green meadows but nowadays they are not entirely unusual.. Up at Ringinglow, two miles from this keyboard, there is an alpaca farm.  There they breed them and there are usually forty or fifty grazing in little groups amongst the drystone walls that were once the exclusive preserve of sheep.
Alpacas are camelids and they originate from the western slopes of the Andes - mostly from Peru, northern Chile and Bolivia. There are no known wild alpacas in South America. They were domesticated long ago and are farmed principally for their wool rather than their meat.

They are unusual creatures. One interesting alpaca habit is that when grazing in small herds they tend to defecate in the same discreet area rather than leaving their droppings randomly all over the pastures. It is believed that this habit helps to restrict health problems related to parasites.
Like their bigger cousins - llamas - alpacas are wont to show annoyance through spitting. Mostly this spitting is directed at other alpacas and may involve half-digested stomach juices. However, it is not unusual for alpacas to spit at passing human beings. Fortunately, when I was up at Ringinglow yesterday afternnon I was not showered in alpaca spit.

24 comments:

  1. They are such pretty animals, in my opinion.

    Alpacas are farmed quite extensively throughout Australia nowadays. There are a few farms around this area where I live; not on the mountain itself, that I'm aware of, but around Canungra, Mundoolun and other areas in the valleys a short distance below.

    When I was visiting a shop nearby to the local mountain vet one day a couple of years ago a vehicle towing a trailer pulled into a parking bay. To my delight,in the trailer (caged)an alpaca stood proudly observing its surrounds. The beauty had an appointment with the vet.

    It was a delight to see.

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    1. I hope he didn't spit at you Lee!

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    2. I wonder why it was I already knew that would be your response, Yorkie!

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  2. Their coat just begs you to pet them. Would they spit at that, or bite? I enjoyed this greatly, not having seen an alpaca up close, ever.

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    1. They never spit at Canadians.Why not order your own alpaca? However, in your cold winters he or she would have to live indoors. Have you got a spare bedroom?

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  3. I know some people with alpacas. It is very convenient for them collecting the poo for their vegetable garden, as it is -as you write- deposited in a confined area.

    Alphie

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    1. I would like to try alpaca manure (shit) in my garden.

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  4. You're right about not seeing alpacas when you were a kid. we didn't have alpacas here either. Thanks for the background info on the.

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    1. Oh God Red! You finished mid-sentence! I hope you didn't suddenly collapse! Get The Micro Manager to call an ambulance!

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    2. Oh those computer gremlins got me again and stole some of my words! How's that for a good excuse?

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  5. As a child, I knew alpacas only from the zoo at Stuttgart, but when around 2003 I was on one of our annual Yorkshire holidays with Steve, I spotted some on a pasture from the bus. Steve at first didn't believe me, as he of course had not seen alpacas when growing up in Yorkshire, but a little later, the bus came past another pasture with them, and then he had to believe me.

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    1. Did he believe you when you said you had seen a herd of unicorns?

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    2. I think, YP, the collective noun for unicorns is a blessing.

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    3. Perhaps, given that you taught English, I should rephrase that: I think that a blessing is the collective noun for unicorns.

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    4. Lots of Grahams together probably forms a nightmare.

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  6. A pretty animal, a shame about the spitting. I have some socks from Alpaca wool, they are lush.

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    1. In Peru peasant women often wear stylish and colourful bonnets with ear flaps - made from alpaca wool. Such headgear would suit you Sue.

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  7. They're so cute! And what better response to rude treatment than spitting?! I'm glad they liked you and deemed you worthy of holding back the spit!

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    1. Good job my camera has a powerful zoom facility. I wouldn't want to get too close to those mothers.

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  8. I have enjoyed using alpaca yarn in the past, very soft and warm.
    I always think that they have a lovely haughty look about them.
    Briony
    x

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    1. I like the way their ears point backwards. It's a cool look.

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  9. Camels spit too! Those alpacas are such odd-looking creatures.

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    1. Okay. I bet when you were living in Morocco you had personal experience of camel saliva. They say it's good for one's complexion.

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  10. We have three in the village ..small heads big bodies odd looking gals

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.