A male is known as a MALE, a female is known as a FEMALE and a baby is known as a CRIA. A group is known as a HERD. Along with camels and llamas, alpacas are classified as Camelids. Alpacas and llamas can successfully cross-breed. The resulting offspring are called huarizo, which are valued for their unique fleece and gentle dispositions.

Alpacas are social herd animals that live in family groups consisting of a territorial alpha male, females and their young. Alpacas warn the herd about intruders by making sharp, noisy inhalations that sound like a high-pitched bray. The herd may attack smaller predators with their front feet, and can spit and kick. Not all alpacas spit, but all are capable of doing so. Spitting is mostly reserved for other alpacas, but an alpaca will occasionally spit at a human. Most alpacas do not like being grabbed. Some alpacas tolerate being stroked or petted anywhere on their bodies, although many do not like their feet, lower legs, and especially their abdomen touched or handled.

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