Thanks to their adorable faces and fun personalities, alpacas have gained quite a fan club in the small-scale farm owner’s world. Even though these animals are prevalent in their native land, it’s not as common to see an alpaca, let alone to see someone riding an alpaca.

But can you? After all, showing up to the town parade with your alpaca might be a fun adventure. However, unfortunately, you should not ride them, and we’re going to tell you why.

divider-multipet About the Alpaca

Alpacas have an ancient history, but they are pretty uncommon in the United States. In fact, the alpaca has only been around in the US since the 1980s. So, this obscure animal has a lot of misinformation due to their limited population in areas like the United States and Canada.

If you’re interested in knowing more about this awesome creature, here are some quick facts to look over.

First of all, there are two types of alpacas:
  • Huacaya: The Huacaya alpaca is the most common of the two species, making up 90% of all alpacas worldwide. These alpacas have soft, fuzzy coats often described as teddy bear-like.
  • Suri: The Suri alpaca is a less common species, making up only 10% of all alpacas. They have long fibrous coats that are soft, often compared to cashmere. They have a dreadlock-like look to their coat.

Aside from their noticeable physical differences, they really have no personality differences. Alpacas are gentle and easy to handle, generally having amazingly docile temperaments.

You might have fallen in love with an alpaca online—there are tons of farms that give sneak peeks into the life of an alpaca and other interestingly exotic pasture dwellers. These guys really charm people with their goofy actions and peaceful nature.

But are they the best candidates for any manual labor? Not so much.

alpaca with mouth open
Image Credit: gabio, Pixabay

Weight Limits for an Alpaca

Even though their long necks might make them look big, alpacas really don’t get that large, topping out somewhere between 125 to 200 pounds.

So, when it comes to even pulling a small cart, it can be a challenge depending on how much weight is involved. Alpacas should only be responsible for carrying lightweight items, but preferably nothing.

Unlike their camel cousins, alpacas are not prime carriers. They can carry very little if any weight. They are simply not naturally designed to carry anything.

Preferences for an Alpaca

In addition to not carrying much weight, they really despise having anything on their back. Since they have resistance to this, it makes them incompatible for taking on even light items.

Alpacas much prefer grazing in the field, left to their own devices. They can be very friendly with people they are used to, but they don’t want to carry your belongings.

two alpacas in the backyard
Image Credit: HansLinde, Pixabay

Purpose of the Alpaca

So, if the alpaca isn’t a compatible candidate for riding and they can’t necessarily pull a cart of people, what are they good for? Well, these creatures are actually highly resourceful.

Even though alpacas might not want to do any heavy lifting, they serve an arguably equally important role—they lend their fibrous locks so we can have yarns and fabrics.

In Peru, they eat alpaca meat, but this is not standard. Rather alpacas have been used for their fibrous codes, lending valuable materials to people to make clothing and other fabric items

Alpaca Care

Alpacas are much smaller than their llama cousins and get many kudos for their docile temperament and water-resistant coats.

They are extremely easy to keep. They are hardy, requiring only basic shelter and food to thrive. As long as you ensure they have basic necessities, they will be happy campers.

Make sure that you never keep an alpaca alone. They are a mammal that thrives on being around their own kind. In one enclosure, you need to make sure your alpaca has at least one friend to spend their time with.

brown alpaca resting in the grass
Image Credit: Pixabay

divider-multipet Final Thoughts

If you thought about getting an alpaca to haul anything in particular, this isn’t the right breed. These guys are best suited for their fibrous wool, giving us beautiful materials to use in many products the world over.

We hate to burst your dreams of riding an alpaca into a sunset, but this petite long-necked wooly sweetheart doesn’t make the cut as a carrier, unfortunately.

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Featured Image Credit: Thomas Devenish, Shutterstock