What’s a Baby Alpaca Called + 6 More Amazing Facts!

Written by Sadie Dunlap
Published: January 7, 2022
Image Credit SakSa/Shutterstock.com
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Baby alpacas are bashful, fuzzy animals that are closely related to camels. Did you know that a baby alpaca can stand within moments of birth? Keep reading to learn how a baby alpaca communicates, and much more! Let’s dive into six astounding facts about alpaca babies! 

#1: A Baby Alpaca is Called a Cria!

baby alpaca closeup
Alpaca young are called crias!

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Baby alpacas are called cria. Their mothers are called hembras and fathers are called machos. A group of alpacas is called a herd – but they’re not the only ones! A group of cows, buffalo, and even zebras is also called a herd.

#2: Crias are Very Calm and Kind

baby alpaca and mother
Even though alpaca babies are bashful, they prefer to live in groups.

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Baby alpacas are not known for their bravery or strength. Instead, they are known to be quite shy. They have meek personalities and are well-known for being easily spooked. However, it’s not difficult to gain the trust of an alpaca. 

Even though alpaca crias have a reputation for being shy, they are also curious and intelligent animals. Due to their gentle nature, they are frequently members of petting zoos and get along with humans well. In fact, when given the opportunity, alpacas will even eat out of your hand! 

This tiny alpaca’s shyness should not be mistaken for anti-socialness. They are herd animals, after all, which means they prefer to have company. For this reason, they should not be raised in isolation. Even in captivity, an alpaca should never be alone. They often share pastures with sheep and llamas, with who they get along well.

#3: Newborn Alpacas Can Stand Almost Right Away 

baby alpaca closeup
A newborn alpaca can stand as quickly as 20 minutes after being born!

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Many baby animals are completely defenseless as newborns, being unable to walk or talk for many months. However, alpacas are part of an elite group of baby animals that can stand quickly after birth. 

On average, alpaca babies can begin to stand anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours after birth. However, they aren’t the best walkers or runners right away. Practicing standing helps them build the muscles in their legs, which will enable them to learn to run. They are wobbly at first, but quickly gain the strength needed to walk in confidence.

Due to their inquisitive nature, alpacas make great walking companions. Baby alpacas can even be trained to walk on a leash with a halter, just like dogs! They are calm, gentle animals who enjoy the walk as much as we do. Who knew?

adorable baby alpaca
Crias are part of the same family as camels.

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A few different species of animals are all under the same umbrella, the Camelidae. The alpaca, several breeds of camels, llamas, and vicunas are all very closely related. This fuzzy family of animals has been grazing the Earth for more than 10 million years! 

Even though the alpaca cria and baby camel are closely related, you wouldn’t see them together in the wild. In fact, these animals live on completely different continents! Alpacas are native to South America. Camels, on the other hand, live in Asia and Africa.

#5: Baby Alpacas “Speak” to Their Mothers

mother and baby alpaca
Young alpacas communicate with their mothers by humming, nuzzling, and even touching noses!

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Mother alpacas have a special bond with their babies. Their bond is so special that they have their own noises they use to communicate and babies are said to be extremely vocal. Some of the most common means of communication are humming, nuzzling, and touching noses. 

Mother alpacas are fiercely protective of their young. When they fear danger, they alert the rest of the herd by making a loud snorting sound. When predators are near, alpacas become quite aggressive. They are strong, tall animals that aren’t afraid of a fight. 

#6: Cria look Oddly Similar to Llama Babies

baby alpaca portrait
It’s tough to tell young llamas and alpacas apart!

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Can you imagine having a cousin that could be your twin? For baby llamas and baby alpacas, this is a reality! Even though they are completely different animals, it’s extremely difficult to tell them apart as babies.

Luckily, there are a few ways you can distinguish who is who. For example, baby alpacas weigh less than baby llamas. Baby alpacas also have smaller ears and a more blunt nose than their llama cousins.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are baby alpacas called?

A baby alpaca is called a cria. A group of baby alpacas is called a litter and a group of alpacas, in general, is called a herd. A male alpaca is called a macho, while a female is called a hembra. 

How much do baby alpacas weigh?

When a cria is born, it weighs about twenty pounds. However, by the time they’re fully grown, they weigh anywhere from 120 to 150 pounds. Compared to llamas and other animals in their family, they are quite small. They generally only grow to be around 3.5 to 4 feet tall as adults.

What do baby alpacas eat?

Baby alpacas survive on their mothers’ milk until they are around six to nine months old. As soon as they’re weaned, they start grazing. Alpacas are herbivores, which means they only eat plant life. Crias enjoy a diet of grass, fallen leaves, and even tree bark!

Where do baby alpacas live?

99% of alpacas are found in South America. In the wild, they live on mountainsides, with a large concentration of their population found high in the Andes mountains.

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