Wednesday, October 10, 2007
What's four-legged, looks like a llama, spits like a camel and comes in different colors? It's an Alpaca. Alpacas may not be your ordinary domestic animal, but they are making quite an appearance throughout Central New York.
Alpacas are even more popular today than their first appearance 23 years ago. According to a website for alpaca lovers, the first group of Alpacas was brought to the U.S. from the Andes Mountain in South America. Once farmers realized how profitable they were, Alpacas have been popping up on farms throughout the country. Central New York is no exception. Just like most pets, Alpacas must be registered. Registering an Alpaca with Alpaca Registry, Inc.(ARI) protects owners against bad investments.
FoxRun Farm owner, Dick McCoy, who owns 100 Alpacas says, feeding hay to Alpacas can be very costly. Despite the high cost, McCoy says these animals have proven to be big money makers. Alpacas can cost anywhere between 12 and 40 thousand dollars each. Similar to sheep, Alpacas thick wool can be sheared and spun into wool for hats, scarves, socks, sweaters and even teddy bears.
If Alpacas continue to become popular, some veterinarians could be targeting more than just cats and dogs. According to alpcanation's website many veterinarians are already seeing these camelid animals.
Alpacas are not just farm animals. Many are entered into shows like the Empire Extravaganza Alpaca Show. If you have never seen an Alpaca, the show's organizer says he's expecting about 900 of them. The event will be held at the Fairgrounds in Syracuse October 20th through the 21st.