Area of zoo
The Farmyard
Enclosure status
IUCN status
Least Concern
Scientific name
Vicugna pacos
South America

Alpaca facts

  • Alpacas are widely domesticated, bred from wild vicuña, which are native to the Andes.
  • They don't drink much water and eat around 4lb of food per day, much less than their llama cousins.
  • When alpaca babies are born, they'll hum to their mother who will hum back. As adults, alpacas may also hum when curious, happy, worried or cautious. 
  • Alpaca wool is highly valued and is used to make clothes and textiles, mainly in South America. Alpaca wool comes in 52 different natural colours and is one of the warmest wools.
  • Alpacas have no upper front teeth, so are gentle grazers. They have padded feet that allow them to graze areas without doing too much damage.

Compare to llamas 

Three alpaca babies
Three alpacas and a llama at London Zoo

What do alpacas eat?

Grasses, shrubs and most types of vegetation they come in contact with. Like many animals that live in dry areas they get most of their moisture from food.

Alpaca habitat

Mountainsides and valleys of the Andes, South America.

Light brown alpaca

Where are alpacas from?

South America: Ecuador, Northern Chile, Bolivia and Peru. 

Alpaca lifespan

Alpacas have a lifespan of 15 - 20 years. 

Alpaca threats

Coyotes, mountain lions and other big cats.

Our alpacas 

Meet our cheeky alpacas, which joined the zoo during the third Lockdown in 2021. This furry male trio are all bursting with personality! 


Alpacaccino the alpaca at London Zoo

Born: 24th April 2020 

Likes: Rolling around in hay and grass - this alpaca definitely prides himself on his self-massage skills, which means he’s often sporting some very fetching twigs and leaves in his hair. 

Dislikes: Being groomed by keepers after rolling around in hay and grass. Keepers are beginning to suspect it’s a fashion statement...! 


Dark brown alpaca at London Zoo

Born: 29th June 2020  

Likes: Investigating what the zookeepers are doing – this alpaca is definitely the most confident of the trio and doesn’t miss a thing! He is also the most vocal and likes to ‘hum’ (a noise alpacas make to communicate). As a result, he’s already got a name for himself at the zoo as ‘the singing alpaca’. 

Dislikes: Keepers haven’t found anything yet – time will tell... 


Chocolate alpaca at London Zoo

Born: 30th July 2020 

Likes: Being with his alpaca pals – he loves nothing more than snuggling up to his stablemates and following them around as they go about their daily lives. 

Dislikes: Being apart from his alpaca pals – this alpaca is definitely a big softy who loves company.

Whipsnade Zoo petting zoo

  • Tiggy the llama at London Zoo
    Lama glama


    Llamas are adapted to survive in extreme high altitude environments, despite now being more commonly seen as domesticated farm animals.

  • Gorilla eating at London Zoo
    Gorilla gorilla gorilla

    Western lowland gorilla

    Gorillas are the world's largest primate, weighing up to 200kg. They share 98.4% of their DNA with humans, and all four gorilla subspecies are critically endangered.

  • Hyacinth macaw
    Hyacinth macaw

    Hyacinth macaw

  • A Chapman's zebra at London Zoo

    Chapman's zebra

    London Zoo is home to Chapman's zebras, also known as plains zebras.

  • Squirrel monkey baby at London Zoo
    Saimiri boliviensis

    Black capped squirrel monkeys

    Squirrel monkeys have the largest brain, proportionally, of all primates.

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