6 Differences Between Llamas and Alpacas

At first glance, alpacas may resemble their larger camelid cousin the llama, but they are quite different.

  1. Their ears: Alpaca ears have short spear-shaped ears while llamas have much longer, banana-shaped ears.
  2. Their size: Alpacas generally weigh in at around 150 pounds while llamas can get as heavy as 400 pounds. At the shoulder, an average alpaca stands between 34 and 36 inches, while a llama generally ranges between 42 and 46 inches.
  3. Their faces: Llamas have a longer face; an alpaca’s face is a bit more blunt, giving them a “smooshed in” look.
  4. Their purpose: For more than 5,000 years alpacas have been bred for fiber (and in Peru for meat as well), while llamas have been bred for the same amount of time as pack animals and meat.
  5. Their hair: The alpaca produces a much finer fiber than the llama. The alpaca also produces more fleece than its larger cousin and in a much greater variety of colors. Llamas also generally do not have as much hair on their head and face as alpacas do.
  6. Their dispositions: Alpacas are very much herd animals, while llamas are more independent minded. Alpacas also tend to be a bit more skittish than llamas, which are often used as guard animals for alpacas, sheep, and other small livestock.

Sources: openherd.com, lifeandscience.org, mountairyalpacas.com, marylandalpacas.org

Plus: See more stories from Alpaca Week »

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2 years ago

Great..I bought a stuffed animal thinking it was a llama but now looking at it I see that it resembles an alpaca. Hope my one year old can’t tell ?

2 years ago

I have a herd of 50 alpacas and one reason that I chose them is because they are very gentle and cooperative animals.. Llamas
can have what I call “an attitude” which is just a more independent spirit. We use a couple as guard animals for the sheep. The alpaca
is primarily raised for its fiber which is very low micron and has no “scratchy” feel. Try an alpaca sweater some day, and you won’t ever
go back to wool. Cheers.

Richard Klisz
2 years ago

Yes they are like camels without humps and less appetite for spitting

Patricia Wedel
1 year ago

I ran in s field of Llamas… they ignored me… I was about fifty years old… at the time…

2 years ago

i never knew this much about them. i always thought that they were pratically the same thing! my child hood is officially ruined!

Jerry Havens
2 years ago

How much land is recommended per animal?

2 years ago

I love the way you explained it nice info alpacas are found in South America region and I love them.

[…] the Inca Empire’s heyday, Machu Picchu also provides excellent opportunities to see firsthand the differences between llamas and alpacas. Llamas grow up to twice the size of alpacas and belong to the camel family. Both animals can be […]

2 years ago

Lol get shrekt

Thing one
2 years ago

I made an Alpaca yesterday on April 27

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