Llama and Alpaca Differences?

what is the difference between Llamas and Alpacas?

Llama and Alpaca Differences?

When a person plans his trip to Peru. There are three things they think about; these are: Llamas, Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail. In this article, learn the llama and alpaca differences; and immerse yourself in the wonderful world of these cute animals.

Llamas and alpacas belong to the Camelidae family; for which they are commonly called South American camelids. It has been verified that the llama was domesticated by the native Andean peoples; by artificial selection from the guanaco. The same thing happens with the alpaca; which is born by artificial selection from the vicuña. These cute Andean animals; are widely distributed in the Peruvian Andes. The Lares Trek to Machu Picchu and the Ausangate & Rainbow Mountain Trek: offer the opportunity to observe hundreds of herds of alpacas and llamas on its hiking days.


South American camelids are found in the Andean countries of: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. However it should be noted; that the countries with the highest concentration of llamas are: Peru, Bolivia and Chile. Which is equivalent to 91% of the total population of this species; on the other hand, Bolivia has the largest number of llamas with 2,500,000 animals. On the other hand, Peru owns 85% of all the alpacas in the Andes; with 3.6 million animals.

In Peru, the departments that count; with high concentrations of these two South American camelids, are: the regions of Cusco and Puno. We must mention that the Lares Trek; It is located 150 km from the city of Cusco: and has large numbers of herds of llamas; in relation to the number of alpacas.

The largest number of alpaca population; is located on the Ausangate Rainbow Mountain Trek. This excursion is located 130 km from the city of Cusco and is in the direction of the Puno region.

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Similarities between llama and alpaca.

It is very difficult to know the Llama and Alpaca differences; this is very understandable since they both belong to the same family: and they are also very similar physically. Before mentioning the differences between these two cute animals; we will see some common aspects between both:

  • Common habitat.
  • They are, both herbivores.
  • Llamas and Alpacas live in herds; of 10 to 25 individuals.
  • They have a very docile temperament.
  • Only spit when they are angry.
  • They have a similar physical appearance.
  • They have a coat; of almost the same hue.

All these features; make it difficult to tell them apart.

Llama and Alpaca Differences?

Difference between Llama and Alpaca.

Llamas and Alpacas belong to the same family; however they belong to different species: Lama glama and Vicugna pacos. According to a study by the Chilean Journal of Natural History. At the chromosomal and taxonomic level; Llamas descend from Guanacos, and Alpacas descend from Vicuñas.

Llama VS Alpaca.

Without having to look at the DNA of these animals; through a microscope. There are clear differences; that the people of the Andes perceive immediately.

Size: Llamas are much larger than Alpacas. And consequently; they are much heavier.

Neck: Llamas have a very long neck; while that of the Alpaca is short. The Llama neck measures, between 20 and 25 centimeters.

Ears: while llamas have long, pointed ears; that look like a banana. Alpacas have quite rounded ears; very similar to a bread.

Snout: The muzzle of the llamas is very long; unlike the Alpaca which is too short.

Fur: The wool of the llama is thicker; this varies between 20 and 40 microns. The Alpaca instead has a very fine wool; that varies between 19 and 25 microns.

Personality: Alpacas are more shy when interacting with humans; while llamas are more outgoing and even daring.

Besides the already mentioned hikes to Machu Picchu; where huge herds of Llamas and Alpacas can be found. There exist around 30 Llamas; living all around Machu Picchu citadel. These Llamas of Machu Picchu; are usually very outgoing and photogenic. We are sure, that they will steal you a smile with their occurrences.

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