What an Interesting Animal3rd December 2009
Alpacas are an animal that closely resemble a Llama in appearance, although they have quite quirky banana shaped ears and are smaller. They are highly intelligent and very inquisitive. Alpacas have a very high quality fleece and therefore are now bred in several countries around the world. Canada, Australia, The United Kingdom, The United States as well as New Zealand now home some of the largest herds.
The highly prized fleece of the alpaca has been farmed for centuries in countries such as Peru, Chile and Bolivia. As their life expectancy is up to 25 years, owning this animal can prove to be profitable if you are providing alpaca wool. The fibre that is produced from the fleece of the alpaca is much finer than sheep wool. It is also very durable and hard wearing. The feel is warm and luxurious which make it popular in use for scarves, gloves and hats as well as blankets, rugs, sweaters, coats, socks and much more.
The number of scales on an individual fibre of alpaca wool is considerably lower than in sheep wool. This is the reason why people who may be allergic to sheep wool do not have a reaction to the alpaca wool. This makes it a very popular choice for a variety of people as there is no worry of a bad reaction to the products they may purchase. Alpaca wool is even used in creating teddy bears so if you have a child who is allergic to sheep wool you could purchase them a special teddy made of this unique and fun fibre without the worry of them being allergic to it.
Baby alpaca fibres are softer and finer than that of the adult animal. This makes baby alpaca wool very sought after. This is reflected in the cost of alpaca wool in comparison to sheep wool, however the quality and durability of alpaca wool makes it a better choice. As the wool comes in 22 natural shades and colours it is versatile enough to use in a variety of products. The Alpaca wool shades vary from white to jet black.
There are two types of alpaca - the huacaya and the suri. The huacaya is the most common type of alpaca and its fleece grows in perpendicular to their body. This gives the huacaya type a very fluffy look. The other type of alpaca, suri, makes up only 10% of the alpaca population. Their fleece grows parallel to their body and it has a silky sheen. Some people refer to their fleece as having a dreadlock look.
Alpacas are a very interesting and unique animal. They produce wool that is versatile and high quality that provides the perfect accent to any look. The soft, lightweight and functional wool makes it very sought after product that is sure to stand the test of time. From items of clothing to a most treasured teddy bear, you are sure to be pleased with any product you purchase made from alpaca wool.