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    Alpaca (Vicugna pacos)

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    Alpaca (Vicugna pacos)

    Post by sesrocker on April 27th 2009, 19:28



    Scientific Name: Vicugna pacos
    Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Chordata
    Class: Mammalia
    Order: Artiodactyla
    Family: Camelidae
    Genus: Vicugna

    Behavior
    Alpacas are social herd animals that live in family groups consisting of a territorial alpha male, females and their young. They are gentle, elegant, inquisitive, intelligent and observant. As they are a prey animal, they are cautious and nervous if they feel threatened.

    Spitting
    Not all alpacas spit, but all are capable of doing so. "Spit" is somewhat euphemistic; occasionally the projectile contains only air and a little saliva but alpacas commonly bring up acidic stomach contents (generally a green grassy mix) and project it onto their chosen target. Spitting is mostly reserved for other alpacas, but an alpaca will occasionally spit at humans that, for example, take away food.

    They do not like being grabbed. Once socialized well, some alpacas tolerate being stroked or petted anywhere on their bodies, although many do not like their feet, lower legs, and especially their abdomen touched or handled. If an owner needs to catch an alpaca, the neck offers a good handle—holding the neck firmly between the arms is the best way to restrain the animal. Holding the neck from the rear with the animal's head under one's arm is also very effective.

    Reproduction
    A male in the act of mating, or hoping for a chance to mate, "orgles" (sings). This orgling helps to put the female in the mood, and it is believed to also help her to ovulate after mating.

    Females are "induced ovulators," which means that the act of mating and the presence of semen causes them to ovulate. Occasionally, females conceive after just one breeding (which can last anywhere from 5 minutes to well over an hour; the males are "dribble ejaculators,") but occasionally do have troubles conceiving. Artificial insemination is technically difficult because the act of breeding stimulates ovulation - but it can be accomplished. Babies conceived from artificial insemination are not registerable with the Alpaca Registry.

    Poisons to Alpacas
    Many plants are poisonous to the Alpaca, including the bracken fern, fireweed, oleander, and some azaleas. In common with similar livestock, others include: Acorns, African rue, Agave, Amaryllis, Autumn Crocus, Bear Grass, Broom Snakeweed, Buckwheat, Ragweed, Buttercups, Calla lily, Orange tree, Carnations, beans from the Castor Oil plant, Cress and a great many others.

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