Alpacas are domesticated versions of vicuñas, South American ruminants that live high in the Andes. Alpacas are related to the llama, which is a domesticated version of another wild Andean ruminant, the guanaco. While llamas are used as pack animals, alpacas are raised mainly for their soft wool.
Alpacas are very social creatures. They are gentle and curious and with training can become great pets. Herds often include animals of different species or taxonomic families, such as llamas, goats and sheep.
Alpacas spit when they are distressed or feel threatened. They will sometimes spit at each other when they are competing for food or trying to establish dominance. They won't spit at people unless they have been abused.
As herbivores, alpacas only eat vegetation. They eat mostly grass, but their diets can also include leaves wood, bark or stems. Like other ruminants, alpacas have a three-chambered stomach that digests the roughage efficiently.