What is the difference between a Llama and an Alpaca?

'Excuse me'.. asked the customer

' What is the difference between a Llama and an Alpaca?. All while petting one of real alpaca fur alpaca toys. 

You see, I get asked this question a few times a week at the Latin Store in the Blue mountains of Australia.

I guess some customers miss our A4 detailed explanation of the differences  depending on which side of the store they are standing at, as our shop is filled with  mini llamas and Alpaca toys starting at 10 cm right though to 1.5 meter real life sized Llamas.

Nevertheless, this is a question I am most happy to answer for a number of reasons. Clearly, i feel good and important knowing i have valuable information  to share. But most of all it was a question I once had myself and so it gives me joy know others will be able to recognise the difference in the future and hopefully share it with others.

So, I begin with 'If you see a Llama and an Alpaca together, the Llama is taller, wider and with longer ears".

'The Average size of a fully grown llama is 1.7 metres tall while the average size of an Alpaca is only 1 metre"

 'On top of that, if you pet an Alpaca, the fleece is super soft and quite silky'

'Llamas on the other hand have a much coarser fleece. Much more similar to a sheep or more itchy I say'.

'In their original habitat in the Andes of South America the indigenous people such as the Inca's used the Llama as a pack animal as they can carry an average weight of 45 kg's.

'The Alpaca on the other hand is highly desired around the world for it's fibre'.

Often referred to ' as the the fibre of the god's' Alpaca fibre is soft, light and 3 to 5 times warmer than lambs wool. This clearly made it a favourite of the Inca deity as cold weather can reach up to minus 30 deg Celsius in the mountains'.

Once i'm finished my explanation i usually get a nice. 'Thank you, that was really helpful and 50 to 60 % of the time this is followed by a purchase of a different sized llama or Alpaca.

I guess Llamas and Alpaca's have become craze in the last few years and people don't seem to get enough of them. They are cute beautiful animals with an intriguing personality. Many are choosing to have them as pets or breed them for their special qualities. 

My sister and I are the proud owners of 'The Latin Store' a store that specialises in South American Art, craft but particularly in Alpaca and Llama products in Australia and most recently my partner and i have launched a gift website 'Topicaltropes' with a whole section dedicated to Llamas or ' The Cool llama' I should say in honour of my heritage.

So there you have it. Now you know the difference between a Llama and an Alpaca. Please leave comments below if you would like any more information about these precious animals or please feel free to check out our websites either;

www.thelatinstore.com or topicaltropes.com to get your own Llama or alpaca products. 






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