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The Alpaca: Vital Statistics

By Linda K. Davis, Owner, Alpaca.com L.L.C.

Size

A mature alpaca weighs 110-170 pounds and is 34-38 inches tall at the top of the front shoulders (the withers). Crias weigh 15-19 pounds at birth.

Lifespan

15-25 years, with a few living to 30 years of age.

Reproductive lifespan of female

12-14 years; from 3-17 years of age approximately.

Reproductive lifespan of herdsire

10-12 years; from 4-16 years of age approximately. Prime years 5-10 years of age.

Gestation period

11 months. Healthy females can produce offspring at an average rate of one cria each year.

Number of cria born per gestation

One; multiple births are extremely rare.

Colors

There are more than 22 natural shades produced from the alpaca fleece ranging from white to black that are recognized and accepted by The Alpaca Registry.

Scientific classification

Order: artiodactyla
Sub-order: tylopoda camelids
Family: camelidae
New World name: lama pacos alpaca

Growth rate of coat each year

5-10 inches.

Weight of fleece

From mature individual each year-one to eight pounds with a few yielding up to ten pounds each year.

Countries of Origin

Peru, Bolivia, and Chile; first imported into the United States in 1983.

Population

Approximately three million worldwide, with 98 percent still living in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. Roughly 90 percent of all alpacas are huacaya and ten percent are suri. These same percentages apply to the alpacas currently in the United States.

 
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