Basic alpaca facts
Countries of Origin:
Alpacas originate from Peru, Chile and Bolivia. None of the alpacas imported in the UK in the 1800s survived, so in the early 1990 alpacas were once again imported into the USA, Canada, mainland Europe, Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world.
There are thought to be about 3.5 million alpacas in Peru, Chile and Bolivia, with a further 60,000 in the USA, 50,000 in Australia and around 14,000 in the UK. Huacaya alpacas account for 93% of the population and Suris 7%.
Most alpacas have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years, with some neutered males reaching ages of 25.
A mature alpaca will weigh anything between 60 to 90 kg (132 to 198 lbs) and stand 85 to 95cm tall at top of the front shoulder (withers). Crias weigh between 6 to 8kg (13 - 18 lbs) at birth.
Reproductive lifespan of alpacas:
Females can breed from about the age of 18 months up until 17 years of age while males start at around 2 years and breed up to 18 years.
Alpacas give birth to a single cria after 11 to 11.5 months pregnancy and are ready for mating two weeks from birth. Twins are very uncommon, around one in every 50,000 births, and do not usually survive.