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  • Alpacas in Zurich Zoo


    Vicugna pacos

    For a long time the alpaca, along with the llama, was considered the second domestic form of the guanaco. However, DNA analysis revealed that the alpaca is descended from the vicuña. Alpacas are conspicuous for their long and dense hair and are also used mainly for wool production. The animals are sheared annually and the wool yield is 3.5 to 5 kilograms per shearing. Depending on the breed, the wool can be coarser or finer. The exported wool of the approximately 3.3 million alpacas represents a significant economic factor for Peru. Small camels spit liquid stomach contents to get rid of intrusive other alpacas and to assert the hierarchy. In doing so, they demonstrate astonishing marksmanship. Humans are rarely spat on by llamas and alpacas. The greenish "spit" is malodorous but harmless.

    Family Even-toed ungulates, tylopods, camelids, vicuñas
    Habitat grasslands and semi-deserts from sea level to 4000 meters above sea level
    Mode of life diurnal, territorial
    Social structure small harem groups, young males in small groups, older males also as solitary
    Food grasses, herbs, buds
    Weight 80 to 120 kg, newborns up to 15 kg
    Shoulder height 90 to 120 cm
    Head-torso length 160 cm
    Tail length 30 cm
    Gestation period 11 to 12 months
    Litter size 1 young, rarely 2
    Maturity 2 years
    Life expectancy 20 years
    Use skins for blankets and clothing, milk
    Current population stable, 550,000, northern subspecies endangered in Peru
    In Zurich Zoo since 1949


    Verbreitungskarte Alpaka

    Animal sound


    M. A. Frick, Zürich
    B. Mészaros, Winterthur
    C. Märchy, Niederweningen
    Ch. + G. Bolle, Stallikon
    A. Moser, Untersiggenthal
    D. Linder, Zürich
    D. Selzam, Winterthur
    S. + R. Schärrer, Neuhausen am Rheinfall
    I. Moosmann + Z. Hug, Wettingen
    St. M. Grütter, Illnau-Effretikon
    St. Gaggia, Lufingen
    N. + D. Koch, Nürensdorf
    P. Cafader, Endingen
    Familie K. + N. Meyer, Zumikon
    Familie Blümel, Zürich
    E. + A. Domeisen, Bülach
    R. Busse, Fällanden
    O. Rusterholz, Künten
    J. Margraf, Hagendorn
    St. + M. Salm, Dietikon
    St. + C. + L. Marti, Dänikon
    A. Heller, Waltalingen
    B. Huber Kaufmann, Winterthur
    E. Hug, Quarten
    S. Amacker, Niederglatt
    P. Peter, Illnau
    O. Stanimirov Rossi, Zürich
    G. Mamuzic, Zürich
    B. Hertz, Winterthur
    Holder Bau AG, Dällikon
    L. Held, Zürich
    A. Fischer, Winterthur
    J. Strauss, Männedorf
    M. Metzler, Zürich
    U. Schenk, Uesslingen
    A. Angehrn, Baden
    D. Graf, Zürich
    I. Krumeich, Regensdorf
    Familie Noti, Theilingen
    I. Schlatter, Rümlang
    C. Schnurrenberger, Fehraltorf
    L. Filli Lamprecht, Zürich
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