Why Do Alpacas Spit?

Alpacas are friendly and docile animals. They are growing as a common choice for taming by the day. The alpaca, as a pet, is likely to photobomb your selfies and steal the limelight with its goofy smile. However, things can get ugly when it spits at you. So, why do alpacas spit? Let’s find out how not to let this happen!

An alpaca is a gentle and harmless animal. It does not spit frequently, but when it does, it’s all things chaos. Nevertheless, it does not have diverse mechanisms to defend itself from predators. So, spitting is one of the ways it turns to. Spitting is not the first in the line of its weapons, instead, it is its last.

An ‘alpaca spitting’ can occur from several causes. For example, a female alpaca spits when she is not interested in the mating advances of a male alpaca. Male alpacas may spit in the drive of establishing dominance. Alpacas, irrespective of their gender, may also spit out of competition for food.

Most alpacas spit when they feel threatened. They spit even in conditions where they do not feel comfortable. For example, alpacas being pack animals, have alternating moments of preference for company and personal space. Additionally, other alpacas tend to spit when they are irritated.

Whatever the case, an alpaca would exhibit several warning signs before spitting. The warning signs include stomping, grumbling, snorting, and staring. They are like an alarm call to set off before being spit at. The most notable is their act of spitting by blowing air through their noses.

Do Alpacas Spit at Their Owners?

Do Alpacas Spit at Their Owners?
Do Alpacas Spit at Their Owners?

Alpacas are usually social animals. Clubbed under the category of herd animals, they love spending time in company- humans and fellow animals alike. Most alpaca owners feed food to alpacas themselves and many keep them on their farms.

Alpacas do not specifically aim at a human while spitting. They might do so when feeling threatened by their owner, or when they demand their owner’s attention. In other unexplained cases, it might just happen that the owner might be having a bad day! Although on a serious note, alpacas rarely spit, it is even rarer for them to spit on humans.

As per the veterinary advice, an alpaca would spit in the circumstance of perceived threat. The owner may also become a subject of alpaca spit when caught in the crossfire of two alpacas. In such a case, the owner must pick on the preceding warning sign and escape to avoid the alpaca spit.

Why Do Alpacas Spit on Humans?

As mentioned earlier, an alpaca does not view humans as the bull’s eye while spitting. Instead, they may spit at the other members of their herd but not likely at a person. Alpacas spit for several complex reasons. First, a human might just be at the wrong place at the wrong time. And it doesn’t have to be personal!

When in conflict with other animals, submissive alpacas avoid eye contact. This is why the spit directed at an animal might be misdirected toward a nearby human.

In the case of baby alpacas, they will likely spit when they are around two to three weeks old to clean out the toxins from their still-developing stomachs.

Unless a person is intent on harming an alpaca or causing them distress, it is quite unlikely that an alpaca spit accident will happen with them.

What Does an Alpaca Spit Out?

What Does an Alpaca Spit Out?
What Does an Alpaca Spit Out?

If you think that alpacas spit must be merely saliva, you can only wish it was just that. Instead, alpacas spit out their acidic stomach contents. This is why what comes out of their mouth is a rather gross blob of regurgitated food, stomach acid, and little saliva. So, since this article’s beginning, we have technically meant “reflux” by spit.

This reflux has the appearance of green spit. The spit is composed of stomach contents like enzymes and acids. In terms of the saliva composition of the alpaca spit, it contains more air than saliva. It smells as bad as it looks.

Interestingly, an alpaca can spit out at a whopping 10 feet. One must make the run when they notice dry spit in the mouth of the alpaca. The projectile of wet spit, the blob hurled out, follows this dry spit.

Does Alpaca’s Spit Hurt?

Does Alpaca's Spit Hurt?
Does Alpaca’s Spit Hurt?

The spit projectile is not going to hurt you. If you have concerns that the alpacas spit out poison or some toxic substances, fret you not. Know the difference between the good and bad spit to be on the safer side. Good spit is benign. In the case of the bad one, the spit might look green and foamy. It indicates that it might be sick.

Sometimes, the spit might contain a virus that causes an eye infection called conjunctivitis. The infection causes redness of the eyes and painful swelling. So, you can choose to see a doctor as a precaution after an alpaca spit has hit you.

Other than this, the spit of alpacas poses no fatal or serious health complications.

Final Words

It is not in the nature of alpacas to spit frequently. Between llamas and alpacas, the latter spits lesser. One can avoid it to an extent by making them comfortable with you. You can do this by spending time with them and being sensitive to their triggers.

You need to take good care of alpacas as they are highly sensitive. You need to understand them through their bodily gestures and noises if they feel uncomfortable. If possible, intervene in situations where the alpaca feels threatened. It makes more sense to understand why an alpaca is spitting by getting an insight into what they might feel.

However, when a spitting scenario seems inevitable, it is best to note the warning signs and escape immediately. Flattened ears and raised chin often indicate a spit attack oncoming. Such signs herald what’s in store ahead.

Here’s hoping that this article helped you be more prepared to pet an alpaca nex