Alpacas live in the Andean region of South America, where they have been partially domesticated by the indigenous people for about 6000 years. The name "alpaca" originated from indigenous "pacos", which the Spanish conquistadores transformed to "el paca", and later evolved to its present form. Alpacas are probably descendants of the vicuņa or the guanaco. They feed on grasses growing close to the snow line, and they require a pure water supply. Like the llamas, they have the habit of spitting at annoying objects. But unlike the llamas, they are not used as beasts of burden, but are bred for their wool.
The above picture was taken in the Artis zoo of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in July 2005.
Life on Earth