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That interesting question “Can llamas and alpacas breed?” has been a warm topic for many years and there exist many discussions in society as every person has their own point of view.
To get the knowledgeable ending of this topic, I built this guide to elaborate on the breeding of alpacas and llamas and the names of babies born by cross-breeding of both species.
In short, you will love the scientific knowledge gathered by our experts.
Alpacas and llamas Breed
The Alpacas and Llamas are purely domestic mammals having no sign of their existence in a wild state. Both of these species are believed to have been bred from the guanacos, to be used as beasts of burden before or during the Inca Indian civilization.
Llamas and Alpacas have been used by humans for transportation for thousands of years due to their load-carrying abilities. They have been the interest of humans due to the high quality of fleece production by them.
They are primarily found in Bolivia and Peru and are part of the camel family “Camelidae”
The main family of Alpacas and llamas has four lamoid species as:
The first two species, Alpacas and Llamas are the domestic species while the other two are wild ones.
The interesting thing about these species is that all of them are able to interbreed with each other and can produce fertilized offspring.
Alpacas are again divided into two types of appearance as
- Huacaya- crimpy sheep-like “wool”
- Suri- silky dreadlocks
Crossbreed of Alpacas and Llamas – Huarizo
Alpacas and Llamas are able to breed each other and produce fertile offspring that are much more lovable than parent species by gaining dominating characters of both parents.
By advancement in breeding and genetic science, it is seen that the crossbreed of Alpaca and Llama produce a unique offspring that will have a llama-like head and alpaca-like tall body.
The newborn baby by cross-breeding is known as “mini-llama” but the technical term for this cross is HUARIZO.
But, before breeding the characters and lifestyle of both parents is studied to get the knowledge of which characters the offspring will gain. Alpacas and Llamas, both have very unique characters of their own.
The name of offspring is decided on the basis of parents i.e male and female of which species.
- If the cross is between male alpaca and female llama then offspring will be called “Huarizo”
- If the cross is between a male llama and female alpaca then offspring will be called “Misti”
The other terms are too used for babies (cria) that are
- Warilla – (llama baby) If the baby resembles a llama
- T’aqa – (alpaca baby) If the baby resembles an alpaca
The important thing to be noted here is that these crosses are considered undesirable in their native lands of Bolivia, Peru, and Chile.
Characteristics of Huarizo – Alpaca and llama cross
The main technical term for alpaca llama cross used is Huarizo. Huarizo has many unique characters which makes it much lovable among the community.
Huarizo tends to be smaller than llamas with their fiber being longer than parents.
Huarizo has the following characteristics:
- Appearance: It looks more like alpacas by their body size but it is less tall than them but the face looks familiar to the llamas.
- Fiber: Fiber produced by huarizo is coarser than alpacas and llamas. This huarizo fabric is a knitted fabric that is usually blended with other fibers like polyesters to improve the quality. The major use of fiber by huarizo is in the garment industry that makes the huarizo a lovable animal. Fleece made by this fiber is used in the manufacturing of knitwear etc.
- Crimp: Huarizo has a natural crimp which means that it has a natural elasticity that is breathable and warm.
- Fertility: The most interesting thing about huarizo is the fertility of this animal. It is generally considered a sterile wild animal that has no ability to reproduce itself. But recent studies conducted at the University of Minnesota Rochester observed that it may be possible to preserve fertility by doing some genetic modifications.