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Published June 01. 2011 05:24PM

Here are some facts about alpacas:

• Alpacas are members of the Camelid family and are native to the Andes Mountain range of South America.

• They are primarily found in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. They provided both clothing and transportation to the Incas and were first commercially imported into the United States in 1984.

• Alpacas prefer the cooler climate, but can adapt to any climate.

• There are over 100,000 alpacas registered in the U.S.

• Alpacas are raised to be bred or for their fiber. They are generally not a food source.

• There are two kinds of alpacas: Huacaya (wah-KI'-ya) and Suri (surrey).

• Alpacas can live for 20 years.

• It takes 11.5 months to produce a cria (baby alpaca). Multiple births are extremely rare.

• Alpacas are sheared every 12-18 months and their fiber is becoming very popular with some retailers.

• Alpacas are alert, intelligent, curious and predictable animals who seek companionship.

• Alpacas communicate by softly humming, neck posturing, ear and tail positioning and head tilt.

• In ancient times, fiber was known as the, "Fiber of the Gods." Today, it is often compared to cashmere.

• Alpaca fiber is stronger and lighter than wool, yet it's warmer.

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