If you’ve ever seen an alpaca (Vicugna pacos) from a distance, you might have confused it with a llama (Llama glama), or vice versa. While these animals may share similarities in body shape, both have feet instead of hooves, and both are species of South American camelids, llamas and alpacas are actually two very different animals, with different temperaments, ear sizes, and scientific names.
Comparing Llama vs Alpaca
As previously mentioned, there are a lot of similarities between the alpaca and the llama. They both have feet with two toes and soft footpads rather than hooves, and each has a three-compartment stomach for digesting their diet of grasses. Both animals can spit up to 10 feet when annoyed or threatened. Still, the ways in which they differ are distinct. Some of the differences between these animals include:
|Habitat||Mountainous deserts and grasslands||Temperate high meadows|
|Lifespan||10-15 years in the wild; |
sometimes reaching 30 years of age in captivity
|10-15 years in the wild|
|Head||Longer faces and ears||Blunt noses and short, pointed ears.|
|Temperament||Tend to be loners||Herd animals and somewhat more docile|
|Differences unique to the species||Make good pack animals||Have hypoallergenic wool, use their tail to show their mood, much like a cat|
The 5 Primary Differences Between Llamas and Alpacas
Head and face
Llama vs Alpaca: Ears
Llama vs Alpaca: Wool
Both of these animals are used for wool, but alpaca wool tends to be more sought-after, as it is finer and softer than llama wool. It is also hypoallergenic since it contains no lanolin like sheep’s wool.
Llama vs Alpaca: Size (Height & Weight)
Llama vs Alpaca: Temperament
Llamas prefer to keep to themselves rather than herding, but they make good guard animals for alpaca herds, as they are quite protective of other animals. Of the two, llamas tend to be much more aggressive than alpaca, though both will defensively spit when crossed.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Is a llama the same thing as an alpaca?
No. Although they are very similar, they are not the same animal. The scientific name for the llama is the llama glama, and the alpaca is the Vicugna pacos.
What's the difference between a llama and an alpaca?
Llamas are larger and more solitary. Alpacas have better wool and like to stick together.
Are llamas or alpacas nicer?
Generally speaking, alpacas tend to have a gentler disposition, but either will spit when provoked or threatened.
Are llamas or alpacas more aggressive?
Llamas are often more aggressive because they are very protective of other animals.
Do alpacas and llamas have different feet?
Not really, no. Both llamas and alpacas have two-toed feet with soft pads on the bottom, rather than split hooves like goats or many ungulates.