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a handmade porcelain “Beastie”
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7.75 inches high x 5.75 inches wide
x 5.75 inches deep
For your Christmas
The Golden Gallery.
of prints and
“Water Lily” by Angie Sinclair, 18 x 24 inches, oil on canvas.
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40 farms with North Carolina addresses. There are also mini farms
who are not affiliated with AOAI or CABO.
Wilson, a CABO member, says it is always good to have a mentor.
One thing she has learned is that the psychology of alpacas is del-icate,
and they ideally need to be with three or more of their own
gender to develop a pecking order.
Alpacas, like these at Carolina Pride Alpacas (above) and
Triple H Farms (below), look cute and cuddly but are not
suitable as pets, some alpaca farmers say.
domesticated to some degree, they are still livestock. Each animal
is unique. Some like petting and human companions, others can
become aggressive and go berserk.
“If you ask 10 farmers you will get 20 different answers,” laughs
Hiltz, the Triple H Farms owner. “They are not like a horse, where
there is more of a bonding. Each one has its own personality.
You see a kid on TV with a solo alpaca and they are best friends
(allegedly). People see a cute baby alpaca and owners will get 50
inquiries for a baby, but if you are a good farm it is not a good idea
to pull a baby alpaca off their mothers to be a pet.”
Hiltz says people should ask themselves what they want in a
pet. Alpacas are not going to curl up with you on the couch. They
are herd animals, and it is not good for them to be left alone or
combined with other animals. Some handling conditions can even
bring on berserk male syndrome.
“Berserk male syndrome can happen when animals associate too
much with humans,” she says. “When they have over-handling in
early stages, they see humans as equal, and it starts as play but it
can get rough. I have a friend who was given an aggressive animal,
but they didn’t tell her that. The alpaca bit a piece of her scalp. It
was play biting that turned into a really ugly dominate scene.”
Aggressive behavior is the exception. Alpacas do not typically
bite; their teeth are for chewing cud, but they do spit when
anxious. Alpacas are curious creatures that, like cats, prefer to
approach rather than be approached.
“I have some (alpacas) that are very, very sweet,” Hiltz says. “One
will come up and want neck rubs and to hang out with me all day.”
Finding the right home and the right business fit is a concern for
current alpaca owners. They fear people rushing out to purchase the
cute animals before learning how to care for them.