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Defense Mechanisms Practiced By The Alpaca



by Robert Baird

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The country of Peru is located in the merging point between eastern and western Europe and is home to innumerable varieties of plants and animals. The alpaca is one of the foremost among them. The alpacas were initially domesticated by the Moche people who reside in Peru and since then these animals have been preserved with a lot of care. The most important and valuable component derived form these alpacas are the alpaca fiber which are famous all over the world for their enriched quality and proficiency as warm clothing.

The alpacas are domestic animals which inhabit the Peruvian landscape especially the southern part of the country. It has been observes that these alpacas always travel together in groups and the entire herd grazes together. This is because, while these animals are extremely intelligent, great observers and mild in temperament, they are quite easy prey to other superior animals as well. Therefore for the sake of their own defense alpacas are always found grazing or moving around in groups. It is interesting to note that alpacas are not only weary of other animals and humans but also unfamiliar alpacas as well. They may only acknowledge their owner who may be allowed to stroke them around their necks. However, most alpacas do not like being touched around their abdomen or lower legs even if it is the owner. In case an alpaca is aware of some unfamiliar predator observing them, he will instantly notify the entire herd about a foreign presence by making loud and sharp gasps and a shrill sound. This is to ensure that the rest of the herd is made aware of the impending threat. In order to ward off smaller animal, the alpacas usually spit or kick with their front feet. However, since their paws have soft hoofs, it is not quite effective in wounding the attacker. However they also possess sharp nails which are capable of resulting in deep cuts. Often when alpacas are noticed to stand with their tails and ears alerted, it is symbolic of the fact that they have become aware of a predator lurking nearby. The male alpacas often give out a shrill sound while defending themselves against an attacker and this is usually done to frighten the opponent. Previously, alpacas were killed for their meat and also for extracting the valuable alpaca fiber. However, at present the Peruvian government has adopted a policy to ensure that the killing of alpacas be touted as illegal.


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