Cute, fluffy and taking over the forest, now you can experience taking an alpaca on a walk
PUBLISHED: 17:16 01 February 2019 | UPDATED: 12:41 04 February 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
Horse riding, dog walking and hiking have all been a traditional pastime of those who visit the forests of our region.
But now a new animal is in town and battling to take over. And it is as cute as it is fluffy.
Let’s Go Alpacas in Wretham offers a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with alpacas.
Sophie Gordon, 28, who runs the guided walks and owns and looks after her herd of 12 alpacas, started the walks in late 2017.
Miss Gordon, who is a sonographer at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury by day, offers walks with her alpacas for £25 per person with each participant getting to pick their own alpaca and the chance to take their own alpaca selfie along the way.
She said: “People arrive, see the alpacas, and then come over to our shed which becomes our lecture theatre and we do a talk through with them and that covers our top five most asked questions.
“Then we go off into the forest for about 30 or 40 minutes or longer, normally longer because the alpacas are quite slow.
“They know the route as well so we start off exceptionally slow and then when we get about half way around they know they’re going home and start speeding up.
“They are not as quick as a dog or a horse, they can be very stubborn. If they don’t want to walk, they will not.”
The alpacas owned by Miss Gordon are also show animals and regularly appear at agricultural shows. The herd is also bred for their fleece which is dense and incredibly soft.
Falling in love with the animals when she saw them at the Suffolk Show, Miss Gordon had initially been based in Sible Hedingham before moving her herd to Wretham.
Miss Gordon added: “I saw them at the Suffolk Show, fell in love with them, had never really seen them, heard of them, knew what they were, asked lots of questions and didn’t think any more other than that ‘cool, they’re really amazing.
“My mum was a great influence in my life and unfortunately she passed away when I was 21 and she always had horses and dogs and rabbits and chickens so I had always been around animals and I think that is where the love of animals came from.”
Let’s Go Alpacas is part of Hedingham Alpacas, with a walk experience (one adult and one child) lasting around two hours and costing £25 per alpaca.
More information can be found on their website: https://www.hedinghamalpacas.co.uk/lets-go-alpacas/
Top five alpaca questions
As part of the walk experience walkers find out the answers to the top five most asked questions about alpacas.
1. What’s the difference between an alpaca and a llama?
They are both camelids, a family which includes camels, they can crossbreed, but the main difference is that llamas are a lot bigger and the fleece. Alpacas are predominately bred for their fleece whereas llama fleece is not as soft.
2. Can you ride them?
No, they are too small and not built for carrying weight.
3. How old do they live to?
On average around 20 years especially with the medicines and veterinary knowledge getting better in this country.
4. Can you eat them?
Yes, you can, and in South America they do and it is quite lean meat.
5. Do they spit?
Yes they do, however it tends to be for a reason. Generally they spit between each other and it is often over food or fighting or when they are hormonal.