Fun Facts About Baby Alpacas (Cria)
Alpacas are often referred to as “lama pocos”, or small llamas. This is understandable since they both come from the camelid family. But that’s pretty much where the similarities end.
Unlike other camelids, the alpaca breed is known for its calm nature. Yet that doesn’t stop them from always being watchful of everything going on around them because they tend to scare easily.
Overall, however, alpacas are quite the social bunch. You can pet them and feed them without worrying about getting bitten or kicked. And maybe they’ll even plant a kiss on your nose.
We’ve made a list of 10 fun facts about baby alpacas. Keep reading to find out more about these gentle creatures and their babies.
10 Fun Facts About Crias.
Alpacas breed once a each year. Their gestation period lasts from 242 to 345 days, roughly 11 months. They only carry only one offspring at a time.
Crias are generally born in the spring between May and September. Alpaca mothers tend to give birth during the day. This gives time for the baby to begin suckling before night time when temperatures drop.
At birth, a baby alpaca, also known as a cria, weighs from 6 to 8 kg. As adults, they can weigh up to 70 kg.
Crias can stand up shortly after birth. The fact that these cute babies can stand on their own so early in their lives demonstrates their resilience. At the same time, you’ll rarely find alpacas, big or small, wandering off by themselves. If they do, they won’t stay away too long on their own.
Alpaca milk is lower in fat and salt than cows milk. It’s also higher in calcium and phosphorus. Because of its low fat component, crias need to suckle frequently to boost their growth.
A cria will stay by their mother until it’s weaned, which is around 5 to 6 months. Since alpacas are herbivores, crias start grazing as soon as they’re weaned. They eat grass, leaves, and even bark.
Similar to their ruminant counterparts, their stomachs are divided into three chambers. This efficient digestive tract breaks down food to produce the fatty acids and nutrients that alpacas need.
A female alpaca, called hembra, is ready to reproduce when she’s between 12 to 15 months.
Males are known as ‘machos’. They’re ready for mating by the time they reach 30 to 36 months. That’s the age when farms start offering alpaca studs for sale to breed or keep as pets.
Alpacas can live up to 20 years. They come in about 22 recognised colours. While most alpacas come in solid colours, some have blends and colour variations.
Alpacas are known to be gentle and mild-mannered. Even though they’re curious and love exploring on their own, they get scared easily. That’s why they prefer the companionship of other alpacas. When alpacas feel wary or frightened, they’ll usually huddle and move as a group.
If you hear an alpaca hum, it could be because they’re relaxed and content. After birth, both baby and mother hum repeatedly. They also make a staccato clicking or snorting sound to let others know there’s potential danger nearby. It can also signal discomfort or restlessness.
Alpacas are the docile and adorable animals of the farm world. They’re also extremely sensitive and quite intelligent. The sounds they make communicate certain messages and relay their emotions and fears.
All these unique features make alpacas highly prized cattle and pets worldwide.
MORE BUSH JOURNAL
The impact of poaching on Private Wildlife Custodians
Saving The Survivors are committed to supporting Private Wildlife Custodians. The situation in Private Wildlife Custodians Due to countless decades of poaching of Rhino in National Parks, over half the world’s Rhino are now under the protection of private custodians who are struggling to meet the cost of protecting this endangered and heavily targeted species. … Continued
2 month progress report on baby Giraffe
Remember the young Giraffe that was suffering with ruptured ligaments? The calf has had a cast on her leg for a total of 2 months now and Dr. Johan returned this week to remove it for good. The baby has healed amazingly and as you can see in the video has now returned to live … Continued
Supporting the hero rangers who protect our wildlife
As the year comes to end, it is time to give thanks. At our STS South Africa base, the team decided to thank those who truly deserve it. The team put together some bush orientated first aid kits for several of the rangers protecting our wildlife and putting their lives on the line. STS would … Continued
Update on injured baby Giraffe
Happy Holidays! Today is Boxing Day, in some cultures this is a day for giving. For donating to those less fortunate or in need. Please could you help save the survivors and create hope from hurt? We recently reported on a baby Giraffe that was suffering with ruptured ligaments, Dr. Johan treated this animal a … Continued
The art of immobilisation
How do STS immobilise wild animals? Immobilising large wildlife such as Rhino is an essential procedure in our toolkit to keep these species safe. Whether we need to treat an injured animal or a more proactive anti-poaching procedure like collaring, the decision to immobilise such a large patient is never taken lightly. When we humans … Continued
Dr. Johan operates on two Big Cats!
Reintroduced Lion populations pose several ecological and management challenges in smaller, fenced wildlife reserves. Changes in the natural social and ecological conditions of reintroduced Lions may lead to rapid reproduction and a breakdown of natural predator-prey relationships. To avoid culling of animals, STS was recently requested to perform one-sided hysterectomies on two female Lions that … Continued
Update on our little boy Kwayera
Update on Kwayera: Remember the baby orphan we rescued when he was found wandering the bush alone? For the first few days he was cared for 24/7 by our Veterinary Assistant and Baby Rhino Specialist “Dot”. This most certainly saved his life, before we could arrange for Dr. Johan to fly him to The Rhino Orphanage where … Continued
Injured three week old Giraffe needs our help!
We were contacted by Dr. Ryan to assist with this 3 week old Giraffe that is knuckling over on his right front fetlock joint. This is a condition we see in young foals as well, when either the extensor tendon ruptures, or some of the collateral ligaments of the joint get injured. Dr. Ryan expertly … Continued
Dr. Johan translocates 2 awesome Lions!
A coalition of two magnificent male Lions were recently relocated to another reserve. The reason for this move was twofold: Firstly, many reserves have an overpopulation of Lion and the relocation assists other reserves to bring in different genetics to its own Lion population. In a perfect world there would be no fences and Lions … Continued
“Ear piercing” a Rhino!
Notching is becoming a huge part in Rhino conservation. As a result, nearly all Rhinos in South Africa are “notched”. Notching is a way of identifying each individual animal. Veterinarians do this by removing a small triangle or circle of skin from the Rhino’s ear. The veterinarians do not waste this skin, they use … Continued
Saving The Survivors treat yet another poaching victim
This week Saving The Survivors got the call of yet another poaching incident. Luckily, the Southern White Rhino Bull managed to escape with his life, although he did sustain some nasty injuries. The adult Southern White Rhino Bull was shot and initially he was slightly lame on his right frontlimb. As the days progressed, the … Continued
Update on our Black Rhino orphan
UPDATE : On the Black Rhino orphan calf who’s mother died unexpectedly in a reserve and he was left to fend for himself. After relocating him to the Rhino orphanage the little Rhino began to take a turn in his health and became weak and wouldn’t eat. Everyone on site was extremely worried about … Continued