Salisbury Zoo welcomes three baby alpacas to the herd

alpacas salisbury zoo

Over the past month three baby alpacas have been born at the Salisbury Zoo. (submitted photo)

 If you have been to the Salisbury Zoo lately you may have noticed a few additions to the zoo’s alpaca herd. Over the past month three baby alpacas have been born, with the newest baby born this past weekend. The older two are black and white and the youngest is tan.

The zoo received the herd last October from a private breeder in Ohio. The average gestation period is 11 months, but it is not uncommon for a pregnancy to go for over a year. A baby alpaca is called a cria and will weigh between 12 and 20 pounds at birth. Most alpaca births occur during the middle of the day and are uneventful.

The alpaca — along with the llama, guanaco and vicuna are from South America and are members of the camelid family. They live in the savannahs and deserts of the plains and coastal areas and do best in the highlands of the Andes. Camelids are surefooted animals able to climb on unstable terrain.

Alpacas and llamas are considered to be domesticated animals. Alpacas are used for wool while the llama is used primarily for carrying heavy loads. Alpacas are descendants of the vicuna and llamas are related to the guanaco.

Of the camelids, the Alpacas are much smaller than their relatives the llama and the guanaco. They are valued for their fine wool which comes in plain black, off white, grey, brown-black and tan. These colors are represented in the nine alpacas at the Salisbury Zoo.

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