Spitting is a popular topic when it comes to alpacas. During the month of March we will feature a new post on Spitting each Saturday. Hope you enjoy Spittin’ Saturdays.
One of the first questions people ask about alpacas is “Do they spit?”
Yes, they can spit. Some alpacas are bigger spitters than others. Some have more attitude than others. Most of the time alpacas are sweet and curious - though most of them like to enjoy humans at arm’s length rather than snuggle with them.
Occasionally when humans or other alpacas get a little too close for comfort, alpacas spit. Spitting is their way of saying, “NO, I don’t like that. Stop what you are doing!” They can’t talk, so this is their, ahem, nonverbal way to voice their displeasure over something. Alpacas are totally defenseless. All they’ve got is their spit.
In my experience spitting usually occurs when the girls are arguing over food (remember they are usually pregnant), or when the boys are arguing over the girls. I am most often spit on when I happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, i.e. walking through a group of them during a barnyard squabble. Alpacas are passive, not mean-spirited beasts. But when they are mad, their spit is their only weapon.
There are different degrees of spitting. On one end of the spectrum is a mild *phew*. This one is mostly air and is used to signal irritation. Almost like a sneeze. On the other end of the spectrum is the very angry spit. This one involves green nasty stuff from the depths of the alpaca’s rumen. It is usually reserved for a fierce disagreement with a herdmate or the veterinarian. And it does smell. Bad.
But alpaca spit is not really that big of a deal for those of us who are addicted to love them. Spit can usually be avoided by understanding the alpaca’s nature and using mild handling techniques.
Next Spittin’ Saturday – Spitting from the Alpaca’s Perspective or “10 Reasons Spit Happens!!!“
More Spittin’ Saturdays: