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Alpacas

Docile yet inquisitive

Alpacas have captured people’s hearts for centuries. They are characterised by their long neck and legs, pointed ears and often a thick woolly coat which can vary in colour from brown and black right through to pale yellow or white.

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Featured rescue stories

Tulip
Stories from the field
Tulip
Tulip is an alpaca rescued by the RSPCA from severe neglect.
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Herman
Stories from the field
Herman
Herman is a curious alpaca who spends his time with best friend, Lola.
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Lola
Stories from the field
Lola
Lola is an affectionate alpaca who spends her time with best friend, Herman.
Read More

Alpaca facts

Alpacas are domesticated animals native to South America, specifically the Andean regions of Peru, Bolivia and Chile.

They belong to the camelid family, which includes camels, llamas, guanacos, and vicuñas. Alpacas are often confused with llamas.
Alpacas are herbivores and primarily graze on grass. Their unique, three-chambered stomachs allow them to efficiently process their plant-based diet.
There are two types of alpacas: Huacaya and Suri. Huacaya alpacas have dense, fluffy fleece, while Suri alpacas have long, silky fibres.

“Alpacas are the true ambassadors of peace and friendship, spreading joy with their whimsical charm."

- Anonymous

Sanctuary life

At the sanctuary we provide a safe and nurturing environment for our rescue alpacas to flourish. They have access to spacious grazing pastures, shelter and clean water sources. Roaming the paddocks in their tight-knit herd, our alpacas enjoy each other’s company benefitting from the natural behaviours and social interactions that occur within their group.

"With their large, expressive eyes, alpacas silently invite us to slow down, to appreciate life's simple pleasures."

- Anonymous
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Herd animals
Alpacas are social animals and thrive in the company of other alpacas. They typically live in herds and their social structure is incredibly important for their well-being. Alpacas should never be kept alone, as isolation can lead to stress, depression and other serious health issues.

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Do alpacas require shearing?
Just like our sheep, alpacas also require annual shearing where their thick woolly fleece is removed in the hot summer months. We place their fleece in the woods within the sanctuary for wild animals and birds to use for nests.

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Farmed vs free
Alpacas have a natural life span of between 15 and 20 years. Although it is less common in Australia, farming alpacas for their wool is still a common practice in South America, North America, and New Zealand. The wool is softer than sheep’s wool and contains no lanolin (a naturally occurring but waxy substance), making it hypoallergenic – is then used to make clothing and other items.

Alpaca's day to day

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Do alpacas spit?
While alpacas are typically gentle and docile creatures, they possess a unique defence mechanism – spitting. This behaviour serves as a means of communication when they experience annoyance or perceive a threat. To avoid encountering their regurgitated stomach contents, it is wise to approach alpacas with calmness and respect.

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Alpacas and llamas, what’s the difference?
Though the names are often used interchangeably, alpacas and llamas are two distinct species, both members of the camelid family. Alpacas are generally smaller than llamas, and with less elongated faces and ears. Their fleece is soft and shaggy compared with llama fleece which is generally coarser.