Alpacas are serious sun worshippers. On warm, sunny days the will spend hours grazing, then lying in the grass afterwards, soundly sleeping. They sleep so soundly, in fact, that people often fear that their alpaca has passed away. It is a standing joke among alpaca farmers that sunbathing alpacas love to give their caretakers a heart attack. We all tell stories about standing there waiting for the tail or ear flick that tells them the animal is alive. Although I know this, mine have still fooled me on a few occasions. However, humans are not the only ones fooled by their heliophilic habits:
One particularly beautiful, warm Spring day, I looked out over my alpaca farm, admiring the new Spring grass dotted with delicate wildflowers. It had been a brutally cold winter and I was ready to see it go. I stood in the sun and raised my arms above my head, stretching the stiffness out of my spine. That’s when I saw it. A lone vulture circling low over the girls’ pasture. A tendril of dread rapidly developed in the pit of my stomach. I thought for sure one of my alpacas was really gone this time (most of them were older alpacas at the time).
I quickly ran to where I could see the area that the huge bird was scoping out and, sure enough, Fudge was there, lying in the middle of the pasture on her side, not moving. I watched her for a tense moment, hoping to see the tail or ear flick, but it didn’t happen. So, I ran toward the gate, hollering her name the whole way, but she never budged.
I entered the pasture, continuing to call out her name until I was right up on her. She still didn’t move. Tears filled my eyes as I stood there looking at her floofy black fleece. I knew I would have to touch her to be sure. I didn’t want to. I said her name one last time. Suddenly, to my immense relief, she just popped up. She stared at me for a moment with a what-is-wrong-with-you-woman look. I wiped at my eyes while scolding her for scaring the life out of me, but it didn’t phase her one bit. She just turned away and walked lazily back to the shelter for some hay.
As I watched her go, I caught sight of the dejected vulture as it flew off to look for a less lively meal elsewhere.
If you would like to meet Fudge, come and visit us at our alpaca farm in Collinsville, OK for one of our tours. You can find dates for our tours and events on our Events Calendar. To book a private event, just give us a call: (918) 815-1120 or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.