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MORE TO KNOW:
Alpacas are mammals, and come from the family Camelidae. Other Camelids include llamas, guanacos, vicuñas, and camels. Fossils have shown that the Camelidae family began in North America about 40 million years ago. They migrated to Asia and became camels, and to South America, where they evolved into guanacos and vicuñas, which are ancestors to llamas and alpacas. Camelids are no longer native to North America. Alpacas were successfully imported to the United States in the 1980s, and the herd has grown to over 230,000 alpacas.
Breeders. Breeders are people who raise alpacas. Their goal is to keep the alpacas healthy so they will have alpaca babies. Alpacas are used for their fleece that makes soft, warm yarn.
Crias. Crias are alpaca babies. The cria grows inside its mother for 11 months. Almost always there is only one cria born at a time. The cria drinks milk from its mother until it is about six months old.
MORE TO KNOW: Yearling animals are about a year old, and are no longer drinking their mothers milk. Alpacas are considered adults when they are about a year and a half old.
Dam. Dam is the term for the mother alpaca. Fathers are called sires.
Excerpted from The Alpaca-bet! by Kathryn Keil Brown Copyright © 2012 by Kathryn Keil Brown. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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