Huacayas: (pronounced wa-KAI-ya) have the fluffy teddy bear appearance and is more common of the two types of alpacas. They comprise about 80% of the U.S. alpaca population. These beautiful animals fiber grows outward from the alpaca’s body. The fiber is soft, strong, and generally crimpy throughout. Huacaya fiber can be commercially processed using either the woolen or worsted process and produces a soft, lofty thread or yarn. It’s ideal for knitted wear or soft tweeds.
Suris: (pronounced SUR-ee) comprise about 20% of the U.S. alpaca population. These elegant animals are characterized by their draping locks. You can see how the fiber hangs down rather than looking fluffy as it does on huacayas. This fiber is slick and straight with little or no crimp and has a high degree of sheen. At the microscopic level, the scales of the suri fiber are smooth edged and one directional, which gives it this slickness. Suri fiber is almost always commercially processed using the worsted process, which results in a thin, hard thread which is used in making gabardines and crepes.
- Average Lifespan: 15-25 years
- Average Height: 36 inches at the withers (shoulder)
- Average Weight: 120-180 lbs.
- Color: 22 natural colors with many variations and blends
- Weight at birth: 12-22 lbs. avg.
- Length of Gestation: 335-345 days
- Annualized weight of fiber: 5 to 10 lbs. (sometimes more)