Alpacas have come from the Andes of South America to the farms of America. Farmers are raising these big-eyed, long-necked animals for their fleece. This amazing fiber resists fire, doesn't soak up water, and comes in many landscape-like colors. Some of the color names are chocolate, fawn, and rose gray.
Apart from the colors, there are two different fleece types. Some alpacas are huayacas, the most common on American farms. Huayacas look like teddy bears with fluffy, pom-pom-type fleece like the individual below.
The other type of alpaca is a suri. We met several at Adorable Alpacas in Tehachapi, California. We were lucky since these are rarer on American farms. Their fleece looks more like a mop top like the individual with bangs below.
We were so distracted by the hairdos that we didn't notice that alpacas make sounds. Apparently they hum! They make sounds to express all types of emotions, even concern, which they may have felt as we toured around.
A highlight of our tour is that we met a cria, the technical name for a cute alpaca baby. She was a chocolate brown huayaca.
But the most memorable part was the alpaca stampede! Well, it probably wasn't quite a stampede, maybe more a movement of a small herd toward an open dish of food. The alpacas ran so quickly, and I could hear their hooves striking the drought-dry ground. Their necks twisted like trees in the wind. I wasn't expecting the power, and if I had been a bobcat trying to catch a cria, I would have fled terrified from those slashing hooves.
We met huayaca and suri alpacas, petted an alpaca cria, and experienced the majesty of a running herd at Adorable Alpacas in Tehachapi, California. I highly recommend the free tour. You might also meet the barn cat and watchdog (who keeps bobcats and other predators away). Your guide will actually take you inside the fence with the alpacas! At the end, you'll visit a gift shop where you can purchase yarn made from fleece from the alpacas you've met. Literally, the yarn is marked with the name of an individual alpaca. If you are a crafter, you'll love this! It's so soft and fun to work with.
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