Stud farms put alpaca herds on show
THERE'S just something peculiar about alpacas.
And it's not just their eccentric looks and hilarious personality traits that are attracting the interest of people worldwide.
Their fleece has many incredible characteristics and Southgate's Wahgungurry Alpaca Stud's Pauline Glasser wants to put alpacas in the spotlight.
"When people first saw alpacas, they used to immediately ask if they were llamas."
Mrs Glasser is one of many alpaca stud owners who are opening their gates and welcoming visitors onto their properties for farm open days, as part of National Alpaca Week.
She hopes to educate people more on the breed and give locals the opportunity to pat a 'paca.
More than 300 people attended the last open day at Wahgungurry Alpaca Stud, with kids and adults enjoying the opportunity to get to know the breed.
The Australian Alpaca Industry boasts the second largest herd in the world - second only to South America - and farmers across the country are celebrating Australian Alpaca Week this week.
This year, the stud will have two open days, with Devonshire tea and plenty of information and alpaca fleece products.
Visitors are invited to bring a picnic lunch and pat a 'paca.
The first open day is on Sunday, with Wahgungurry Alpaca Stud joining with Bob and Jackie Coxon from Nattameri Alpacas. The second will coincide with Mother's Day on May 11.
Both events will run from 10am-3pm and will be held at 2276 Lawrence Rd, Lower Southgate.
For more details, phone Pauline on 0419 986 554 or visit www.wahgungurry
Alpacas belong to the camelidae family, which includes llamas, guanacos and vicunas, and Bactrian and Dromedary camels.
Alpacas were domesticated by the Incas more than 6000 years ago. Noble members of society strutted their stuff in products made from the alpaca's exquisite fleece.
Their fleece is hypoallergenic.
The fibre is a good insulator and is even used for insulating equipment in the Antarctic.
There are two types of alpacas - the suri and the huacaya. The suri has fibre that grows long and forms silky dreadlocks. The huacaya has a woolly, dense, crimped fleece.
They show their emotions by humming. When startled or in danger, one animal makes a squealing sound, which is then echoed by the rest of the herd in the direction of the potential threat.
They like to sunbake.
Alpacas don't like to share their food. They are known to sit on their hay pile in order to stop the others from getting to it.