Scientific name 
Vicugna pacos
A dark brown alpaca at ZSL London Zoo

What they look like

Relatively large and furry mammals, alpacas have long necks and aggressive protruding lower incisors. They have no upper front teeth, so are gentle grazers. Their coat patterns vary in colour and their thick wool is perfect for warm fleece, boasted to be one of the warmest in the animal kingdom. They have padded feet that allow them to graze areas without doing too much damage.

Animal facts

Alpacas are widely domesticated, bred from wild Ancuna, a species that is rare and increaingly protected. They don't drink much water and eat around 4lb of food per day, much less than their llama cousins. When they're born, they'll hum to their mother who will hum back. As adults, alpacas may also hum when curious, happy, worried or cautious. Alpaca wool is highly valued and is used to make clothes and textiles, mainly in South America. Their wool comes in 52 different, natural colours. 

What they eat 

Grasses, shrubs and most types of vegetation they come in contact with. Like many animals that live in dry areas they get most of their moisture from food.


Mountainsides and valleys of the Andes, South America

Where they live

South America: Ecuador, Northern Chile, Bolivia and Peru


Coyotes, mountain lions and other big cats

Life span
15-20 years