We are a working hill farm on the shores of Ullswater. Come and meet Cross Dormont's new family members.
Gilbert, Alfie, Rockie and Jacob.
Alpacas have been domesticated for thousands of years, the Moche people of northern
Peru often used alpaca images in their art. There are no known wild alpacas, though its closest living relative, the vicuña
(also native to South America), are believed to be the wild ancestor of the alpaca. Along with camels and llamas, alpacas
are classified as camelids. Of the various camelid species, the alpaca and vicuña are the most valuable fiber-bearing
animals: the alpaca because of the quality and quantity of its fiber, and the vicuña because of the softness, fineness
and quality of its coat.
Alpacas are too small to be used as pack animals. Instead, they are bred exclusively
for their fiber and meat. Alpaca meat was once considered a delicacy by Andean inhabitants.
Alpacas are social herd animals that live in family groups consisting of a
territorial alpha male, females and their young. They warn the herd about intruders by making sharp, noisy inhalations
that sound like a high-pitched bray. The herd may attack smaller predators with their front feet, and can spit and kick.
Not all alpacas spit, but all are capable of doing so. "Spit"
is somewhat euphemistic; occasionally the projectile contains only air and a little saliva, although alpacas commonly bring
up acidic stomach contents (generally a green, grassy mix) and project it onto their chosen targets. Spitting is mostly reserved
for other alpacas, but an alpaca will occasionally spit at a human.
alpacas do not like being grabbed. Some alpacas tolerate being stroked or petted anywhere on their bodies, although many do
not like their feet, lower legs, and especially their abdomen touched or handled.
Alpacas make a variety of sounds. When they are in danger, they make a high-pitched,
shrieking whine. Some breeds are known to make a "wark" noise when excited. Strange dogs—and even cats—can
trigger this reaction. To signal friendly or submissive behavior, alpacas "cluck," or "click" a sound
possibly generated by suction on the soft palate, or possibly in the nasal cavity.
Individuals vary, but most alpacas generally make a humming sound. Hums are often comfort noises, letting the other
alpacas know they are present and content. The humming can take on many inflections and meanings.
When males fight, they scream a warbling, bird-like cry, presumably intended to terrify the opponent.