The rare alpaca is a charming and valuable member of the camelid family. Alpacas are prized for their luxurious and costly fiber which is harvested by shearing once a year. An alpaca sweater or blanket is a cherished possession, frequently handed down from one generation to the next. The alpaca gestation period is 11 months. The baby is called a cria. Alpacas are a herd animal and are native to the Andes Mountains of South America. Alpacas are very gentle, clean animals, and make wonderful pets.