In California, in a little place called Lebec, there is a ranch. It's no ordinary ranch, I tell you , it's the Black Magic Alpaca Ranch owned by none other, but Rachelle Black. In August Rachelle had a newborn cria (alpaca baby), and she decided to make a contest of naming the baby. The rules were: it had to be a LOTR name. And we, the Tolkien fans put our minds at work and Mousie came up with Elbereth, Lady of the Stars.
photo by Rachelle Black: Elbereth
Visit Rachelle's blog the Pasture Musings.
Now let's see what Wikipedia says on Alpacas:
The Alpaca (Vicugna pacos) is a domesticated species of South American camelid developed from the wild alpacas. It resembles a sheep in appearance, but is larger and has a long erect neck as well as coming in many colors, whereas sheep are generally bred to be white and black.
Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of Ecuador, southern Peru, northern Bolivia, and northern Chile at an altitude of 3500 to 5000 meters above sea-level, throughout the year. Alpacas are considerably smaller than llamas, and unlike them are not used as beasts of burden but are valued only for their fiber. Alpacas only have fleece fibers, not woolen fibers, used for making knitted and woven items much as sheeps wool is. These items include blankets, sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, a wide variety of textiles and ponchos in South America, and sweaters, socks and coats in other parts of the world. The fiber comes in more than 52 natural colors as classified in Peru, 12 as classified in Australia and 22 as classified in America. Alpacas and llamas differ in that llamas have banana shaped ears and long tails and alpacas have straight ears and stubby tails. Aside from these differences, llamas are on average 1-2 feet taller and proportionally bigger than alpacas.
Alpacas are social herd animals and should always be kept with others of their kind, or at the very least with other camelids. They are gentle, elegant, inquisitive, intelligent and observant. As they are a prey animal, they are cautious and nervous if they feel threatened. They like having their own space and may not like an unfamiliar alpaca or human getting close, especially from behind.Once they know their owners and feel confident around them, they may allow their backs and necks to be touched. They do not like being grabbed. Once socialized well, most alpacas tolerate being stroked or petted anywhere on their bodies, although many do not like their feet and lower legs handled....(more on www.wikipedia.org)