Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.

What is it?


Certainly not native to Vancouver Island, these animals live just down the street from me on the island. As I drove past one day, I did a double take, thinking at first I was seeing grizzlies (also not native here) on the hillside. I apologize for the poor quality, as these were taken some years ago.

It turned out that they are … er … what? People in the neighbourhood have called them llamas (Spanish pronounciation – yamas), but they look more like alpacas to me. These two animal types are so closely related that I can’t tell one from the other. Alpacas are supposed to be smaller than llamas, but without one of each standing side by side, it is hard to make a comparison.

Llamas are said to have longer ears that point forward. These ears look quite small to me, but who knows?

I have read that alpacas (and, presumably, llamas) have bad reactions to many of the plants that are commonly found in our area, bracken fern, fireweed, and azaleas to name a few. The ones in these photos are unlikely to find much of anything that will disagree with them, as the pickings are pretty sparse on this rocky hillside.

If you’re ever not sure how to spell the name of these animals – lamas or llamas – think of the little poem by Ogden Nash:

The one-l lama,
He’s a priest.
The two-l llama,
He’s a beast.
And I will bet
A silk pajama
There isn’t any
Three-l lllama.

But I still don’t know how to tell the difference between a llama and an alpaca.

I yama gonna have to go sit on a rocky hillside and think about that. It could take me a while to figure out, so I think alpaca lunch.

Author: wordsfromanneli

Writing, travel, photography, nature, more writing....

54 thoughts on “What is it?

  1. They look like alpacas to me. Or wooly mutant cows?? πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

    • Up in the Charlottes in the 70s and 80s there were long-haired cattle wandering around. People called them “hippie cows.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well this is timely. I just stumbled onto your blog after reading your comment on another blog. We are headed to Vancouver in early July from Chicago. My youngest is competing at National Championships of Irish Dancing on July 3rd. We switched gears and decided to take the whole gang there for vacation- which meant cancelling our Yellowstone reservations. We would love to see wildlife. Was not expecting Alpacas. They are cute.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There is a llama farm in the Victoria area. G went there once on a school field trip. Maybe they wandered over to Comox.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow. They look alien there!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d bet they are alpacas. A friend of mine has a lama and I see it every day. They are much larger than these and their ears are longer and turn in at the tips.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fiber artist friend has alpacas…these look like alpacas! (Ready to be seared!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We have some llamas that live nearby, too. I love them! Yes, they are definitely larger than the alpacas, but I’d love to have either as a pet. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nope, they’re not from Victoria, at least I’ve never seen them! But I love the poem by Ogden Nash. I enjoyed your last sentence too!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful colours on those animals!

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  9. We have both here, llamas and alpacas, but usually penned, because they do eat things that are bad for them! They make great “guard dogs” for goats and sheep. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I wonder who owned them. I do like your sign off!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. There are 3 kinds of llamas: Alpaca, Vicuna and Guanaco. yours are definitively Alpacas. The Alpacas are the kind which people keep around here. Seems that they like our climate. I am sure their wool is as good as from the sheep. I heard that they are good for eating as well.


    • That’s an interesting way of putting them in order. I know that researchers are still trying to figure out who is related to whom, but in the end, I think they probably all share some DNA. So there are four animals who have very similar traits: the guanaco and llama, and the vicuna and alpaca. Good to hear that there are alpacas over in Europe too. I hadn’t thought about that being a possibility.


  12. They look like alpacas, especially the fur.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. These are alpaca. Llamas bite little girls (yup, me).

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It was the something garden (where I saw your comment- in case you were curious!)

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I heard that people who have llamas make money off of their wool. I would’ve been shocked to see those, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. There’s three of them in your photo, so despite what Ogden Nash wrote, he just lost his silk pajamas to the lllamas!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m surprised by how many people have llamas. There’s one in my neighborhood, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Those are definitely Alpacas. They are a lot shorter than llamas and their fur is culture. Also, their ears are not as big as a llama’s.

    Liked by 1 person

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