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Do Alpacas Spit on You? “Sour Mouth”

Why Do Alpacas & Llamas Spit_ _Sour Mouth_

Why Do Alpacas Spit on You?

  • Fights over Food
  • Territory
  • Romance – Fighting over Mating
  • Female not Interested in Male Advances
  • Low-Class Standing in HerdPecking Order
  • Defense mechanism
  • Herd Squabbles

Do Alpacas Spit?

Do Alpacas Spit on You – Alpacas are members of the camelid family. The Alpaca is a domesticated species of South American camelid. The camels that most people are familiar with are the ones with humps; the dromedary of Northern America, the Middle East, and Southern Asia, and the Bactrian camel in China and Tibet.

Check Out Amazon’s Educational Resources for Raising Alpacas

However, four other camelids are indigenous to South America: two, Llamas and alpacas, have been domesticated for thousands of years. The other two varieties, guanacos and vicunas, continue to roam in wild herds today. The population is as follows

  • Alpacas – 150,000 in North Americas – 3,000,000 – 4,000,000 – South America
  • Llamas – 7,000,000 in South America
  • Guanacos –  Peru: 3,000, Chile: 270,000-299,000 , Argentina: 1,225,000-1,890,000 in South America
  • Vicunas – 350,000 – South America
Do Alpacas Spit on You? "Sour Mouth" 1
alpaca spits

The Alpaca comes in two Breed-Types:

Huacaya and Suri. Huacayas, the more common type, account for about 90% of all alpacas and have fluffy, crimpy fleece that gives the animals a teddy beer-like appearance. Sure, on the other hand, grow a silky, lustrous fleece that drapes gracefully in a beautiful pencil look.

Will Alpaca Spit Kill You

Alpaca and Llama Spit are not deadly or poisonous. Alpaca’s spit is just smelly and gross. When your stomach is upset and you hold back vomit. That is what you are being sprayed with Alpaca Vomit, called sour mouth.

Alpaca spitting on TV Program

Spit Behavior:

When people discover we have alpacas, the first thing they want to know is if alpacas spit. 

You can divide alpaca split into two categories: good and bad. The best spit is none at all, but sooner or later, something grassy will hit you in the face. If it is a good spit, it’s mildly inconvenient. If it is bed spit, it involves simultaneously swearing, gagging, and running for the shower. If you have ever brewed comfrey tea, you will know the smell of bad spit.

See What Amazons Educational Resources for Raising LLamas

18 ways Alpaca Farmers make Money

The difference between the two types of spit lies in the stomach. Bed spit is fermented, sloshing stomach contents, whereas good spit has only got as far as the Alpaca’s mouth. Alpacas tend to start with the good. It’s closer to the exit then reach for the bad if necessary. It’s so bad they will then stand around with their mouth open, green froth dripping.

Alpacas appear just as genuinely revolted by it as you are, but they can’t resist doing it again. However, it’s hard to stay angry when you can’t bear to purse your lips together.

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alpacas spit

Spitting Over Feed

How does this happen? If you decide to feed your alpacas, some nuts. You divide the food, so there is one portion for each Alpaca in its container.

You then begin a strong-looking, unfashionable dance, some darting back and forth, putting your left arm in and out, and so on, as you try to space the containers evenly without spat on.

At least one Alpaca doesn’t notice they have their container and pick a fight with a second alpaca. They both raise their herds and make the noise of spit coming up their necks, usually followed by a quick shot of good spit to silence their opponents.

Suppose there is still no surrender, the bad spit flies. The self-inflicted Drool of Disgust traditionally follows this. Because their mouth is open, dribbling green evil, they can’t eat the pellets they were fighting over. 

The good news is there’s usually a third alpaca standing not too far away who has quickly hovered up their share and is now willing to take up the pellet slack. That is unless a teeny tiny dollop of green spit has fallen onto the food. Then no camelid with any self-respect will touch the nuts with a barge pole.

Alpaca Spit Fire Vet School

Why Do Alpaca’s Spit

A person usually gets spat on because they are standing in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is because, confusingly, alpacas do not tend to face each other when they first get into an argument. Typically, one faces straight ahead over the food source while the challenger stands at right angles to their opponent, arches their head high, and spits.

In retaliation, their adversary then arches their head and spits, but Alpaca is not facing their opponent when they do this, they spit straight ahead, at the human, who quickly feels less likely.

Why Do Alpacas Spit

They don’t turn their head to face their adversary partly due to the retaliatory spit being a reflex action, but also because it’s less confrontational.

The truth is, a low-ranked alpaca is unlikely to challenge food in the first place. They are usually focused on trying to eat as many of their pellets as before someone more bolshy butts in. They are brave enough to spit but not brave enough to turn their head.

Sometimes alpacas spit at people on purpose, but in my experience, this is far less common.

If you are thinking of adding alpacas to your menagerie, expect to be spat on, but consider it your fault for standing in range. If you visit friends with alpacas, be suspicious if asked if you’d like to hold their food.

Either way, never walk into a paddock full of alpacas with only one container of food. 

Will Alpaca Spit at You

Alpacas are sweet animals but won’t hesitate to spit at you. Lisa Williamson is an associate professor of large animal medicine at the University of Georgia. She says alpacas spit for several reasons. A female uses this behavior to tell a male she’s not interested in his advances, and both genders use it to keep competitors away from food. Spitting is also used to warn an aggressor away. 

Some alpacas are just crabbier than others and spit with little provocation. But, most of them usually give fair warning before unloading the full arsenal. 

They will raise their chin, and they will flatten their ears back, and they may first threaten that way. Then if the animal they are directing that behavior at doesn’t pick up on it, they will first blow out some air and saliva. And it makes a little pffffpth noise. 

Llama Spits in Young Boys Face

Alpaca can Spit 10 Feet

If the offending party doesn’t get the hint and back off, the Alpaca will regurgitate its stomach contents and spit it up to 10-feet away. However, the animals’ moment of victory is brief because the gastric goo isn’t pleasant for them, either.

They can’t stand the taste of it! They will sit there with their mouths hanging open, and they will take their ears to half-mast. It’s hysterical! Their mouths hanging open, there’s green stuff falling out, and they just look like somebody washed their mouth out with soap.

And sometimes they will walk around; they will seek out something like a breath mint, you know a tasty leaf, just to try to get the taste out of their mouth. And that will go on for a few minutes while they are just, ugh, why did I do that?

Alpacas do not normally spit on people. But if their ears are pinned back and staring at you, avoid eye contact and act non-threatening, or you might receive a green Message.

Spitting is perhaps the least endearing feature of alpacas. It is one of the few defense mechanisms an alpaca has and is quite an effective deterrent. The material is regurgitated or recently chewed grass, and it brushes off when dry. It does have a distinctive and somewhat offensive odor, and it is best to avoid being a target.

However, it is quite rare that an alpaca spits at people. It is normally used as a pecking order mechanism with other members of its herd. If a human hit occurs, it is usually because the person has not read the signs properly when stepping between two squabbling alpacas.

Do Alpacas Spit More than Llamas

Both Camelids spit in frequency and for the same reasons about the same.

All members of the camel family use spitting as a means of negative communication. They do get possessive around food, and thus may express annoyance by spitting at other alpacas that they perceive are infringing on their food.

Also, they often spit at one another during squabbles within the herd. From time to time, alpacas do spit at people on purpose. Still, it is more common for humans to get caught in the crossfire between alpacas, so it’s best to study their behavior and learn to avoid the most vulnerable situation.

Spit happens. It is, generally speaking, you will encounter the spit and most at feeding time. An Alpaca that will raise its head while lowering its neck should be a sure indicator of what they have in mind. You can often raise your hand to their face to discourage what you know is coming. At worst, this allows them to spit at your hand rather than your face.

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alpacas spit

Spit acts as the first line of defense:

Spitting is an Alpaca’s first line of defense. It’s a social mechanism. Smaller ones may be quicker to spit than larger ones because they are tired of getting picked on. Alpacas raised in a large herd situation and brought to your smaller herd may instinctively spit to express their dominance. That’s what they grew up knowing. Don’t take offense. And try to see the humor when you end up with a green face rather than getting mad.

The spit causes their lips to hang loosely as their stomach acid numbers their lips. Don’t worry. It usually passes in 10 minutes or so. It can cause an issue at feeding time as those with number lips may miss out. And if they nose around in various feed bowels, others will likely pass on eating feed that has been tainted by their spotty lips. Don’t throw it out. Just mix it with fresh feed the next day.

How To Stop an Alpaca Spitting?

Spitting can result in what is called a “sour mouth.” Stop spitting on Alpacas when they are stressed. Once they have this behavior down, you can use the hand touch to lure the Alpaca. You will agree that you can make the Alpaca a pet. But you will feel disgusting when they will spit at you. You know that Alpaca do spit to signal their extreme displeasure, fear, or dominance. 

If you want to make an Alpaca farm. So, it is necessary to stop spitting. How is this possible? There is the following way:

  • After shearing, the Alpaca feels much lighter and happier.
  • Alpacas love to sunbathe. This is called spitting off and is a useful tool in determining whether a female has previously ovulated, or is pregnant. 
  • Use a tube sock, or something soft, to muzzle the Alpaca. Spitting is mostly reserved for other alpacas, but an alpaca will also occasionally spit at a human. What’s the longest anyone has ever held a plank? Though alpacas might not enjoy the actual shearing process, they appreciate the result. Spitting is their main form of body language and communication. Shearing an alpaca is about more than obtaining his or her fiber, it’s about making the Alpaca comfortable during the process. There are alpacas to suit every dream, whether as gentle and attractive pets, as fiber producers, or for hobby breeders who love having alpaca babies around.
  • Why should I buy an Alpaca? Humans get spit on when caught in the crossfire of Alpaca on alpaca spitting, which tends to be aimed in any direction, not just as the domestic livestock for thousands of years, and since the end-product of alpacas in their fleece, like sheep, they are classified as livestock by both the United States and Canadian federal governments.
  • Alpacas can spit up to ten feet if they need to. For example, if another animal does not back off, the Alpaca will throw up its stomach contents, resulting in a lot of spit.
  • When it comes to reproduction, they spit because it is a response triggered by the progesterone levels being increased, which is associated with ovulation.
  • Alpacas spit when they are distressed or feel threatened. According to Switzer, they will sometimes spit at each other when they are competing for food or trying to establish dominance.
  • It is important to note that most alpacas reserve spitting for other alpacas; it is rare that they spit on humans.

We also Have our extensive Guide here – 18 Ways to Make Money Alpaca Farming

Alpaca Farming Profitability Table

AlpacasOriginWeightYoung / Crias / Year
Space NeededFood NeededFibre / Year / PriceManure / YearPurpose
Huacaya Pregnancy - 11.5 Months5 alpacas/1 Acre4lbs / Day10lbs
$ 350 - $ 500
4 lbs / Day / $40
1500 lbs Year / $15,000 Per Year


  • Gregory Gaines

    Darlene and I have Lived on a 500 Acre farm, we lived there raising our 3 children and 6 Foster Children. On That farm we and our Children Raised Rabbits Chickens Hogs Cattle Goats Gaines Gregory