What’s the Difference Between Llamas and Alpacas?

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© Jarno Gonzalez Zarraonandia/Shutterstock.com;© belizar/Fotolia

What’s the Difference Between Llamas and Alpacas?

Llamas andِ alpacas haveِ beenِ used byِ humans forِ transportation andِ fleece production forِ a fewِ thousand years.
Both species areِ primarily foundِ in Peru andِ Bolivia andِ are part ofِ the camel family, Camelidae.
Alpacas andِ llamas areِ two ofِ the fourِ lamoid species—the otherِ two species, vicuña andِ guanaco, areِ their wild cousins.

The most-noticeable difference betweenِ the twoِ animals isِ their sizes.
Llamas areِ the biggest lamoid atِ aboutِ 120 cm (47 inches) atِ the shoulder andِ aboutِ 113 kg (250 pounds).
Their faces areِ alsoِ dissimilar: alpacas haveِ small, blunt faces withِ short ears, whileِ llamas haveِ more-elongated faces withِ banana-sized ears.

Another key difference isِ their hair.
Alpacas haveِ shaggy hair thatِ isِ used forِ fleece production.
Their hair color canِ vary greatly, fromِ whites andِ light yellows toِ browns andِ blacks.
Llamas’ hair isِ coarser, andِ their wool isِ considered inferior, butِ llama breeders areِ working toِ create a llama breed withِ finer, softer hair.

Humans usuallyِ useِ llamas asِ pack animals, sinceِ they canِ carry a generous amount ofِ weight.
The average llama canِ carry a load ofِ 45 toِ 60 kg (99 toِ 132 pounds) forِ up toِ 30 km (18.6 miles) eachِ day.
Alpacas, onِ the otherِ hand, areِ a bit moreِ timid andِ like toِ stay withِ theirِ herd.