Things you might not know about Alpacas

Although we’ve been famous for our individually handcrafted 100% British wool duvets for over 11 years, more recently we’ve developed our range of alpaca duvets. We only ever use high grade, natural white 100% British alpaca wool that’s been approved by the British Alpaca Society and we receive a limited amount each year, so once it’s gone, it’s gone – until next year’s shearing!

Alpacas are from South America, and it is thought they were originally domesticated in the Puna region of Peru around 6,000 years ago. They are a member of the camel (Camelidae) family, although they are not strong enough to be ridden. They were first imported into the UK in the mid 1800s but did not arrive in larger numbers until the early 1990s, when they became popular for their appealing looks and luxuriously soft wool.

Ellie, one of our customer services team, has done some research and has found some facts that are less well known about Alpacas.

  • Just your type: There are two types – Huacaya (Wah-ki-ah) and Suri (Soo-ree). Huacaya are most common and make up 90% of Alpacas. They can be crossbred and are then called Huarizo. Their fleece has long, soft fibres, comes in 22 colours and it is naturally breathable, hypoallergenic (dust mite resistant) and fire retardant. We choose white alpaca wool as it does not show through the duvet casing in the same way as the darker colours can – and, as mentioned above, we only use natural white alpaca wool, so that we don’t have to use bleach or chemicals to make it white.
  • No Alpaca is an island: they are very social animals that don’t like to live alone but are best kept in groups of three or more.
  • Within spitting distance: Alpacas have no teeth in the top front of their mouths, but they can spit up to 10 feet, although spitting at humans is generally rare.
  • Alpaca talk: They hum, haw and ‘orgle’ sounds, but they can also screech loudly if they feel threatened.
  • Alpaca love: Female alpacas are ready to mate and breed when they are a year old, but males mature more slowly and are not ready to mate until around three years old. If a female alpaca is not attracted to her mate, she will walk away and ignore him. If he’s the one for her, then once she is pregnant, if he becomes too amorous, she will spit at him. Alpacas have an 11-month gestation, meaning they only breed once a year, and only birth one baby, called a ‘cria’.
  • Potty training: Alpacas are very clean animals – they train themselves to poo in one spot and they will line up to use these communal areas.
  • Alpaca bodyguards: Alpacas are very good at guarding sheep flocks, especially during lambing season. A single Alpaca can protect 50 – 60 sheep. They do this by alerting the flock to predators, making intimidating threats, kicking, spitting and chasing. Many British sheep farmers do keep a few alpacas with their flock for this reason.
  • Highly prized: The highest price ever paid for an Alpaca is £500,000 – pet Alpacas cost £500-£1,000 and 'show' Alpacas cost £3,000- £20,000.

Our Limited Edition Alpaca duvets come in two weights; lightweight (3-6 togs) and medium weight (7 – 10 togs), with each duvet being individually handcrafted by our brilliant seamstresses, here in Devon. If you’d like to know more, just get in touch or call 01752 344399 and we’ll be happy to help with any queries.