Hot alpaca adventures package and holiday tricks and tips in Colorado: Wild guanacos and vicuñas live in a wide range of habitats, from the high and dry Atacama Desert in northern Chile to the wet and stormy Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of the continent, according to the ADW. Alpacas are also native to the Andes, at elevations of up to 15,750 feet (4,800 meters). Alpacas, however, are very adaptable and have been exported all over the world, including the United States, New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands, so their “habitat” is often farmland. Still, 99 percent of the world population of alpacas is found in South America, according to the ADW. Read more details on where to see alpacas in Denver, Colorado.
It’s a photo-worthy activity: If you’re looking for a fun experience where you can take some Instagram-worthy shots, meeting alpacas is for you. You’ll be able to stand with them, pet them, feed them, and take photos with and of them. Not only are you interacting with an animal you’ve likely never hung out with before, but you’re also doing it in an incredibly scenic state. Capture some photos of you smiling with an alpaca for all your followers and friends to enjoy. When you go behind the scenes on the ranch, you learn about much more than just the animals. You have the opportunity to talk about the economy, trade, production, local handmade goods, and so much more.
Alpaca fur is a very prized fiber for artisans and crafters. Alpaca fur is very soft and does not retain water. It is also very durable. According to National Geographic, alpaca fur is the second strongest animal fiber, after mohair. Alpacas come in 22 colors, from a true, blue-black through browns and tans to white, according to Alpaca Ventures. Some Andean people eat alpaca meat. In Peru, it is often served in upscale restaurants. Alpacas don’t have teeth in the top-front of their mouths. This gives them the appearance of having an underbite.
Is it OK to have just one alpaca? No. Alpacas have very strong herd instincts and need the companionship of other alpacas to thrive, preferably three or more. Alpacas are livestock, and should not be treated as house pets. Alpacas should be kept with their own sex with a few exceptions. One exception is that male crias need to be kept with their mothers until weaning. Gelded males should not be housed together with females, as they can repeatedly attempt to breed the females. This can lead to serious health consequences for the females.
Are alpacas an “exotic species,” or are they considered simply “livestock?” Alpacas have been raised as domestic livestock for thousands of years. Since the end-product of alpacas is their fleece, like sheep, they are classified as livestock by both the United States and Canadian federal governments. Do alpacas spit? All members of the camel family use spitting as a means of negative communication. They do get possessive around food, and may express annoyance by spitting at other alpacas that they perceive are encroaching on “their” food. Also, they often spit at one another during squabbles within the herd (usually involving two or more males). From time to time alpacas do spit at people on purpose, but it is more common that humans get caught in the crossfire between alpacas, so it’s best to study their behavior and learn to avoid the most vulnerable situations.
Are you planning a trip to the Mile High City? Most people pack their itinerary with a Colorado Rockies baseball game, a concert at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, and a hike at Rocky Mountain National Park in addition to all of Denver’s museums and botanical gardens. Yet, if you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure, you can’t miss an alpaca experience. Over the last several decades, Denver has become home to these gorgeous animals because Colorado’s arid climate mimics that of their native habitat. Read more information at https://meetalpacas.com/.
What do alpacas eat? Alpacas mainly eat grass or hay. They consume approximately two pounds per 125 pounds of body weight or approximately 1.5% of the animal’s body weight daily in hay or fresh pasture. Grass hay is recommended, and alfalfa can be fed sparingly. Many owners feed higher rates of alfalfa to alpacas that are skinny, or live in very cold temperatures. Alpacas are pseudo-ruminants, with a single stomach divided into three compartments. They produce rumen and chew cud and are able to process this modest amount of food very efficiently. Many alpacas (especially pregnant and lactating females) will benefit from nutritional and mineral supplements, depending on local conditions. There are several manufactured alpaca and llama feeds and mineral mixes available. Consult with your local veterinarian to ensure you are providing an appropriate diet for your area. Alpacas also need access to plenty of fresh water to drink.