Department of Education

Animal Ethics

Animal Ethics


Varietal range difference

Alpacas are a member of the Camelid group. In Australia, there are two types: the Huacaya and the Suri. The former is the more common. It has a soft bonnet of fibre on the forehead and ‘mutton-chops’ on its cheeks. The body fibre grows straight out from the body and is not unlike Merino fleece.

Suri alpacas are covered in long, pencil-fine locks, similar to dreadlocks. The fleece has lustre and feels more slippery and silky than that of the Huacaya.

Alpacas begin life as Crias. They grow into Tuis (adolescents) and then Hembras (adult females) and Machos (adult males)

Physical Characteristics

Size 78cm - 104cm at the withers
Weight 47kg - 80kg
Age at adult size 2-3 years
Average life span 15-25 years
Weight at birth 5kg - 10kg
Gestation period 335 days (range 11-12 months)
Number of offspring 1 (twinning extremely rare)
Sexual maturity females, 12-14 months; males, 18-24 months
Weaning age 6-8 months
Body temperature 38°C
Heart rate 60-100 beats/minute
Respiration rate 20-30 breaths/minute
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