Alpacas spit for several reasons, including as a way for a female alpaca to tell a male alpaca that she is not receptive to his advances, to keep competitors away from food, and also to warn an aggressor away.
Most alpacas will give fair warning before spitting either at humans, other alpacas, or at other animals, but some have no problem spitting with little provocation.
Why An Alpaca Might Spit on You
It’s not very common for alpacas to spit at humans randomly. There will usually be a good reason behind it, such as when they are distressed, annoyed, or feeling threatened.
More common, though, is that a human who gets spit on might just be unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and get caught in the crossfire of an argument between two alpacas. Worst yet, is that getting caught in this crossfire is hard to avoid because alpacas do not face each other when arguing until things start to escalate.
What Are the Signs An Alpaca is About to Spit?
If you want to avoid getting spit on by an alpaca then make sure you are well aware of the signs that tell you that spitting is near.
If you notice an alpaca’s ears are pinned back and they’re staring at you, then it’s time to look away and act as non-threatening as possible. If an alpaca is already beginning to move its neck and raise its head to the sky, then it may already be too late!
Why Alpacas Might Spit At Each Other
The main reasons why alpacas spit at each other is either when they are competing for food, or as a way for a female alpaca to signal to a male to back off because she isn’t interested in his advances. This commonly occurs when a female alpaca has already been impregnated and therefore doesn’t want to mate.
What Does Alpaca Spit Smell and Look Like?
Alpaca spit can either be made of just saliva, or it can come from the stomach and be made of acidic stomach contents.
If the spit comes from an alpaca’s stomach contents, then it will be green, cling to hair and fur, smell terrible, and the smell will also be very difficult to remove, especially if allowed to dry.
Alpaca spit coming from their stomach contents is so unpleasant because it is an important defense mechanism that is designed to deter predators.
Does Alpaca Spit Hurt?
Alpaca spit doesn’t hurt, but it isn’t exactly the most pleasant thing to be on the receiving end of. You can think of alpaca spit as either being “good” or “bad”.
Good spit (or at least tolerable spit) is mildly inconvenient and probably won’t make you want to gag. Bad spit, on the other hand, will most definitely make you gag, swear, and question why alpacas were ever put on this Earth. This is because bad spit is made up of an alpaca’s stomach contents whereas good spit comes from the mouth.
The good news is that alpacas start off with good spit and if whoever is on the receiving end doesn’t get the message to back away, only then they will reach for the bad spit.
Is Alpaca Spit Dangerous?
Alpaca spit isn’t dangerous. The only potential for danger is that alpaca spit contains gastric juice that may have bacteria in it. If an alpaca is sick and this bacteria makes its way into you or another animal, it could cause a problem. This is very unlikely, though.
How Far Can Alpacas Spit?
Alpacas can spit up to 10 feet away. To compare, a llama can also spit as far as 10 feet away, and the record for the furthest distance a human has ever spit their saliva is 22 feet. There is no difference in the frequency that llamas and alpacas spit.