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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


    St. + M. Salm, Dietikon
    O. Stanimirov Rossi, Zürich
    Holder Bau AG, Dällikon
    B. Hertz, Winterthur
    I. Schlatter, Rümlang
    S. Müller, Wallisellen
    I. Krumeich, Regensdorf
    L. Filli Lamprecht, Zürich
    G. Mamuzic, Zürich
    D. Graf, Zürich
    Familie K. + N. Meyer, Zumikon
    J. Strauss, Männedorf
    M. Metzler, Zürich
    A. Angehrn, Baden
    M. + N. Rischborn, St. Gallen
    St. + C. + L. Marti, Dänikon
    D. Selzam, Winterthur
    S. + R. Schärrer, Neuhausen am Rheinfall
    E. + A. Domeisen, Bülach
    M. A. Frick, Zürich
    C. Märchy, Niederweningen
    Familie Blümel, Zürich
    D. Linder, Zürich
    Familie Noti, Theilingen
    B. Mészaros, Winterthur
    H.-J. Kläui, Russikon
    Familie R. + V. + R. + Y. Schärer, Luzern
    R. Busse, Fällanden
    L. Gautier-Barras, Zürich
    A. Fischer, Winterthur
    M. Zysset, Langenthal
    A. Weiss, Pfungen
    E. + P. Randegger-Grimmer, Watt
    St. Gaggia, Lufingen
    N. + D. Koch, Nürensdorf
    P. Cafader, Endingen
    L. Kellenberger, Walenstadt
    O. Rusterholz, Künten
    S. Amacker, Niederglatt
    P. Peter, Illnau
    A. Heller, Waltalingen
    J. Margraf, Hagendorn
    M. Keller, Rüti
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