Llama and Alpaca Differences?
what is the difference between Llamas and Alpacas?
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.
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.
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.