Camelids, formally known as “Camilidae,” are any of a biological family of herbivorous, even-toed, ruminant mammals having a 3-chambered stomach. They include those shown in the diagram including llama and alpaca.
Oops, the bell has rung, so its vocabulary time!
“Herbivorous” means they eat plants. “Even-toed” means they have an even number of functional toes on each foot. “Ruminant” means they chew cuds. “cuds” in turn means after eating the plants, the plants go to one stomach where they are partly digested, then return (Regurgitate) back to the mouth for further chewing. Cows do the same thing for example.
Digest all that for a while!
Let’s look at some differences between llamas and alpacas. Separate pages will focus on each.
Llamas and Alpacas are our centers of interest. Pay attention! Their differences are important to note as you travel around Wisconsin, where both are raised in increasing numbers these days.
There are three easy ways to identify them. Checking their ears is a good one. Llama ears (left) are longer and are shaped like a banana., Alpaca ears (right) have short, spear-shaped ears. Franklin, on the left, is a llama. Phyllis on the right is an alpaca.
Next, look at their faces. Like many people, llamas like Elvis (left) have long snoots, or noses. while Alpacas like Alice (right) have short stubby noses.
If you see them together, you will note the llama is much larger than an alpaca. The llama can get up to 400 lbs or more while the alpaca would grow to about 150 lbs.