Our alpaca is Mocha. Alpacas are native to South America and they live in the mountains down there, so they grow a big thick coat of fur. It is very beneficial for the mountain cold, not so beneficial for the Florida heat, so we do shave Mocha at the start of every summer that way he’s coolest when it’s hottest out. He does not like it all, so we don’t do too good of a job on him.
There are two breeds of alpaca. Mocha is the Teddy Bear or Huacaya Alpaca. They grow their hair straight out and fluffy, so the farmers really like them because as soon as they shave the fur they can use it to make blankets, coats, scarves, and anything else to keep you warm. The other type of alpaca is called the Yuri Alpaca. They grow their hair in knots, kind of looks like dreadlocks by the end of it, so the farmers don’t like them as much because they can’t use the fur as easily. There’s much more of the Huacaya as a result.
Mocha came to us from a petting zoo in Kissimmee, Florida. The owner decided to get up and leave and it was a couple weeks before the neighbors found out. The animals were all in rough shape. We got Mocha six years ago, directly from that situation. Plus he came to us full size so we have no idea how old he is, but he does pee like an old man so that’s our one hint.
Alpacas do spit, but they’re going to give you fair warning. They put their ears back, rock around their mouth a whole lot, make some funny noises, and then you have to take one more step! I’ve only ever seen Mocha spit a couple times and it was when we shaved him. That’s an hour long fight, so a couple times isn’t too bad. Luckily no one got hit, it just went splattering across the wall. It is a whole lot of spit, they can aim it pretty well, and it’s coming from their throat and stomach, so definitely NOT something you want to get hit by.
Llamas, camels, and alpacas are all part of the same family of animals, they’re called the camelids. They all spit, it’s just a defense mechanism. Usually it’s for defending their territory against other alpacas, but occasionally for other species. Llamas are basically the bigger version of the alpaca. The two are so closely related that they can interbreed and create a hybrid.