Ever since I sawÂ these pictures on Cute Overload last week, I've been trying to convince my landlord that it would be acceptable for me to have a pet alpaca. Our building doesn't allow cats and dogs, much less large South American ungulates, but on the other hand, according to Wikipedia,Â alpacas are well suited to domestic life:
1. They're already house-trained! "To help alpacas control their internal parasites they have a communal dung pile, which they do not graze. Generally, males have much tidier dung piles than females who tend to stand in a line and all go at once. One female will approach the dung pile and begin to urinate and/or defecate, and the rest of the herd will often follow."
2. They make adorable noises! "Sheep baa, cows moo and alpacas hum. ... Humming can take on many inflections and meanings, from a high-pitched, almost desperate, squealing, 'MMMM!' or frantic question, 'mmMMM!' when a mother is separated from her offspring (called a 'cria,') to a questioning 'Mmm?' when they are curious. .... Some breeds are known to make a sound similar to a 'wark' noise when excited, and they stand proud with their tails sticking out and their ears in a very alert position. ... A male in the act of mating, or hoping for a chance to mate, will 'orgle.'"
3. They don't bite! On the other hand, they spit. And kick. And projectile-vomit. "Some alpacas kick, some don't, but due to the soft pads on their feet, their kicks are not as dangerous as hoofed animals. Not all alpacas spit, but all are capable. 'Spit' is somewhat euphemistic. While occasionally the contents of the projectile are only air and a little saliva, the alpaca will often bring up and project regurgitated stomach contents. ... The smell is so foul that many people who work with alpacas would much rather come into contact with alpaca feces than with alpaca spit."
Perhaps I will keep that last little tidbit from the landlord.