An alpaca walks into a French optician's...
January 23, 2019 9:26 AM   Subscribe

An alpaca has confused and delighted residents of a small French town after wandering into an optician's shop. The fuzzy creature spent half an hour quietly browsing lenses in the town of Hennebont in Brittany...."He was not at all aggressive, he was just doing his thing." More cute photos in this French news article, as well as in this article that incorrectly identified the alpaca as a llama.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl (60 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
Is an alpaca not a llama? In the same way that a German Shepherd is a dog?
posted by Naberius at 9:34 AM on January 23


👓🦙
posted by dismas at 9:39 AM on January 23 [2 favorites]


Is an alpaca not a llama?

Alpacas and llamas are closely related and can interbreed, but they were each domesticated from different South American camelid species.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 9:41 AM on January 23 [20 favorites]


Is an alpaca not a llama? In the same way that a German Shepherd is a dog?

Wikipedia says they're both camelids.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:41 AM on January 23


Alpacas are small(ish) fluffy and adorable.

Llamas are big alpacas who hate you.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:46 AM on January 23 [49 favorites]


'Wool the owner of the tawny Alpaca please move it'?
posted by Fizz at 9:50 AM on January 23 [15 favorites]


this is the cutest opportunity to practice reading French I have ever found!
posted by supermedusa at 9:50 AM on January 23 [13 favorites]


Probably just wanted to see if they sell frames with llaminated lenses.
posted by Mayor West at 9:56 AM on January 23 [26 favorites]


I'm not convinced that this isn't merely someone trying to pull the wool over our eyes.
posted by exogenous at 9:58 AM on January 23 [5 favorites]


this is the cutest opportunity to practice reading French I have ever found!

I mean, questions like this one sound way more...existential in French:

Mais d'où vient ce lama?

And really, this headline should be the title of an avante-garde stage play:

Quand un lama rentre, tranquille, dans un magasin
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:59 AM on January 23 [13 favorites]


Alpacas and llamas are very good guard animals for goats and sheep too :) they keep predators away 😴
posted by gucci mane at 10:15 AM on January 23 [2 favorites]


Alpacas are indeed adorable, I used to live near a farm and one of them would come up to the fence and long necks make for long pets. The others were very placid if a bit less overtly friendly.
posted by BungaDunga at 10:33 AM on January 23 [4 favorites]


You know it wasn't a llama because it didn't break anything or bite anybody. Llamas are ornery. Alpacas are darling. Their dispositions are reflected in the quality of their wool.
posted by praemunire at 11:00 AM on January 23 [19 favorites]


Giant Land Poodle
posted by overeducated_alligator at 11:05 AM on January 23 [24 favorites]


Cameldoodle?
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:09 AM on January 23 [6 favorites]


Alpacas love you, me, and everyone else. Llamas do not have any time for your bullshit.
posted by holborne at 11:11 AM on January 23 [23 favorites]


Llamas are big alpacas who hate you.
Llamas are ornery.
Alpacas and llamas are very good guard animals

Just doing my usual drive-by to remind people that llamas are not mean. They are a hierarchical animal and if hand fed believe they are in charge and will spit. Most people encounter llamas in petting zoos etc and their encounters are bad because they are not educated... maybe because the zookeepers like seeing people being spat on by llamas... *shrug*

I have 2 llamas and they tussle with each other, and spit at each other, but they never do so to me because I don't hand feed them and I know how to show them I am the boss.

Another distinction between the two animals is that llamas will guard and alpacas will not. People who raise alpacas -- often referred to as the pyramid scheme of the livestock world -- will have llamas to guard the alpacas.

Thanks for reading.
posted by terrapin at 11:15 AM on January 23 [45 favorites]


What a polite face that alpaca has. "Yes, I am somewhere unfamiliar, don't worry bipeds, I will not break anything- But I will look around, what nice glasses you have."
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:18 AM on January 23 [26 favorites]


People who raise alpacas -- often referred to as the pyramid scheme of the livestock world

I'm curious, what makes it a "pyramid scheme"?
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:21 AM on January 23


Sorry, that's an actual interested question to help me reduce my ignorance. After I posted I realized it might look snarky even though it isn't meant that way.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:22 AM on January 23


I'm curious, what makes it a "pyramid scheme"?

In the 90s and early 00s there were television ads in the States encouraging people to buy and raise alpacas, inferring that people would make lots of money selling stock and fiber. Since then there have been LOTS of people selling alpacas because it isn't so easy to become alpaca millionaires are they were led to believe.

Edit: Didn't read that as snarky, Greg_Ace!
posted by terrapin at 11:23 AM on January 23 [12 favorites]


"Wake Up to the Wonderful World of Alpacas" [slyt]

Note the guy who claims he "retired because of the alpacas."
posted by terrapin at 11:28 AM on January 23 [6 favorites]


I have 2 llamas and they tussle with each other, and spit at each other, but they never do so to me because I don't hand feed them and I know how to show them I am the boss.

Okay, llamas are big alpacas who probably hate you.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:29 AM on January 23 [4 favorites]


Let's meet a little closer to the middle...

Llamas are big alpacas who possibly hate you !

Llamas certainly aren't touchy-feely. They don't like being touched at all!
posted by terrapin at 11:31 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


In the 90s and early 00s there were television ads in the States encouraging people to buy and raise alpacas, inferring that people would make lots of money selling stock and fiber. Since then there have been LOTS of people selling alpacas because it isn't so easy to become alpaca millionaires are they were led to believe.

I mean, their pretense isn't wrong: have you ever worn an alpaca sweater? Cashmere WISHES it could be alpaca wool. I'd be a pleasant-tempered camelid, too, if I got to walk around covered in alpaca hair all the time. It's just that, compared to shepherding, raising alpacas is disastrously expensive, and the cohort of people willing to pay $400 just for the wool in their sweater is pretty small.
posted by Mayor West at 11:40 AM on January 23 [6 favorites]


Ha, and I just realized, I'm actually wearing a handspun, handknit alpaca cowl right this instant, and I got the fiber from a small family alpaca farm in Kansas. And yes, it is the softest thing ever. It sure did have a lot of VM (vegetable matter, so dried hay and grass and stuff) in it, though. It was a pain in the ass to spin.
posted by fiercecupcake at 11:43 AM on January 23 [7 favorites]


Picking the link to this image fromn the HTML of the third article makes the gentle shopper look ENORMOUS: https://media.ouest-france.fr/v1/pictures/f8d128f8403e2f3439e2a3330db0290b-morbihan-un-lama-entre-par-surprise-chez-un-opticien.jpg
posted by wenestvedt at 11:47 AM on January 23


I have an alpaca scarf I love, but it looks like a Dr Who scarf now as the alpaca fiber stretches so!

Cashmere WISHES it could be alpaca wool.

Only sheep make wool. ;-)
posted by terrapin at 11:47 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Thanks, terrapin! I had no idea, but it makes total sense. Once upon a time I worked for someone who somehow managed to create their own pyramid scheme involving Scottish Highland cattle, but with themselves at the bottom....
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:51 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


"Only sheep make wool. ;-)"

Are you saying those alpacas are thieves? I know a few of them and they would never do anything like that.
posted by komara at 11:51 AM on January 23 [5 favorites]


Homo neanderthalensis: What a polite face that alpaca has. "Yes, I am somewhere unfamiliar, don't worry bipeds, I will not break anything- But I will look around, what nice glasses you have."

Hey, can anyone get Wordshore to read this for us, please? Or John Cena? Either one, same-same...
posted by wenestvedt at 11:53 AM on January 23 [7 favorites]


Yes, alpaca fiber is super-soft and very warm, but lacks elasticity, so alpaca-only items will grow like the dickens. Llama fiber, on the other hand, is about as scratchy as regular sheep's wool.
posted by praemunire at 12:18 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Is an alpaca not a llama?
....
Wikipedia says they're both camelids.


Wikipedia also says alpacas are members of the llama group: "Lamoids, or llamas (as they are more generally known as a group), consist of the vicuña (Vicugna vicugna, prev. Lama vicugna), guanaco (Lama guanicoe), Suri alpaca, and Huacaya alpaca (Vicugna pacos, prev. Lama guanicoe pacos), and the domestic llama (Lama glama)."

However, I think the more pertinent question is whether an alpaga is or is not a lama - there's no particular reason to assume that French naming conventions strictly follow English ones. And indeed it seems that by the French reckoning, alpagas are no longer considered a part of the lama family: « L'alpaga n'est désormais plus considéré comme appartenant au genre lama mais au genre Vicugna depuis une étude montrant que l'alpaga, animal domestique, descend de la vigogne, animal sauvage. »

In conclusion, Wikipedia is a land of contrasts.
posted by solotoro at 12:45 PM on January 23 [4 favorites]


Even the scientific renaming shows you the thinking: lama vicugna -> vicugna vicugna, lama guanicoe pacos -> vicugna pacos. (Boy my spellchecker didn't like that one.)
posted by praemunire at 1:05 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Hm. It is a quadruped, so on initial glance it might well be a llama.
posted by maxwelton at 1:06 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


Llama fiber, on the other hand, is about as scratchy as regular sheep's wool.

I guess that depends on what one considers "regular sheep's wool."
posted by terrapin at 1:09 PM on January 23


Hm. It is a quadruped, so on initial glance it might well be a llama.

¡CUIDADO! ¡LLAMAS!
posted by The Bellman at 1:35 PM on January 23 [8 favorites]


Having either a llama OR alpaca (I love them both, I'm not picky) wander into my workplace would be the highlight of my LIFE. BRB, moving to France and becoming an optician.

Back-up plan -- Save money, retire early, move just a little west of where I'm at now where farmland is plentiful and keep a llama, some alpacas, maybe a goat and/or a sheep; make that sweet sweet fiber cash.
posted by Fig at 1:37 PM on January 23 [5 favorites]


I'm ready for my workplace alpaca visit.
posted by Zed at 1:50 PM on January 23 [14 favorites]


Topologically speaking, it is equivalent to a cat.
posted by ardgedee at 1:51 PM on January 23 [11 favorites]


Is a cat a table? Is a llama a table?
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:55 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


> Back-up plan -- Save money, retire early, move just a little west of where I'm at now where farmland is plentiful and keep a llama, some alpacas, maybe a goat and/or a sheep; make that sweet sweet fiber cash.

And then you can start a MeFiber club! MetaFiber?
posted by Secretariat at 2:02 PM on January 23 [6 favorites]


And then you can start a MeFiber club! MetaFiber?
posted by Secretariat

OMG MAKE THIS HAPPEN
posted by fiercecupcake at 2:03 PM on January 23 [9 favorites]


Como te llamas, Señor Alpaca?

Ah, you brought some weed? Alpaca bowl!

(Enough word play here.)

Sidenote: Are woolly mammoths named that way because they're ...wool-ly?
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 2:22 PM on January 23 [4 favorites]


Poor alpaca, he just wanted to be like his cool friend Harley "the Fonz" Habenaro ("gorgeous fleece and great personality" .... is this OK Cupid for 'pacas?) and he got the police called on him. Ah well, he probably didn't have vision insurance anyway.
posted by basalganglia at 2:30 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


Is a cat a table? Is a llama a table?

Why is a llama like a writing desk?
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:40 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


Topologically speaking, it is equivalent to a cat.

Both cats and llamas are tori, aren’t they? So is a bull, but that’s a Bos torus.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:29 PM on January 23


It may not be the alpaca we deserve, but I think we can all agree that it is the alpaca we need.
posted by howfar at 3:54 PM on January 23 [4 favorites]


but that’s a Bos torus.

Tried and failed to come up with a coherent pre-bos-torus/preposterous joke... :(
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:23 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


After some reflection, the real business opportunity is having a herd of alpacas and charging businesses to have them pop in as an employee benefit. Alpaca Surprise(tm)
posted by Fig at 4:56 PM on January 23 [11 favorites]


Once I took my summer interns to the maternity barn at the largest alpaca breeding farm in the US and they got to watch one give birth... best boss ever.

I got recruited to help on shearing day at a hobby farm. Pro Aussie shearers who come do these babby farms in their off season, they think we’re ADORABLE because the farms are so small. So these guys know what they’re doing but the guard llama at this farm was a TOTAL DICK. (He definitely hated you. And you. AND YOU IN PARTICULAR). It took about five people to restrain his camelid ass.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:33 PM on January 23 [10 favorites]


the guard llama at this farm was a TOTAL DICK. (He definitely hated you. And you. AND YOU IN PARTICULAR).

He sounds like one of those people who has to make everything so dramatic all the time.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 7:24 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


Llama ddrama
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:38 PM on January 23 [7 favorites]


The fuzzy creature spent half an hour quietly browsing lenses in the town of Hennebont in Brittany
I am very concerned about whether they mean BROWSING lenses or BROWSING ON lenses.
posted by huimangm at 8:25 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


If it attempted to browse ON the lenses it would surely be in danger of making a spectacle of itself!
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:47 PM on January 23 [9 favorites]




In the 90s and early 00s there were television ads in the States encouraging people to buy and raise alpacas, inferring that people would make lots of money selling stock and fiber. Since then there have been LOTS of people selling alpacas because it isn't so easy to become alpaca millionaires are they were led to believe.

I can confirm that my uncle raised something that I always thought of as llamas in the 90s. Reading this makes me think they were probably alpacas. I remember when I asked my mom why they had llamas, she (kind of dismissively) said it was supposed to become a big thing. It...did not become a big thing, obviously, but my uncle lived in the country and had enough disposable income to waste on outdoor animals. He kept them for several years, and only offloaded them (how? new sucker??) when he moved to a different state.
posted by grandiloquiet at 11:19 AM on January 24


The Fiber Trends pattern for a herd of knitted alpacas and llamas is pretty delightful.
posted by Lexica at 4:07 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]




On the subject of the orneriness of llamas, this The Bears Were Getting Bolder FPP is about a story that includes a guard llama successfully fighting off an angry bear.
Despite their cartoonish appearance, llamas can fight like hell. They have six pronounced, razor-sharp “fighting teeth” at the front of their mouths for that purpose. In a whir of gnashing incisors and pummeling hooves, Hurricane assaulted the prone bear until it managed to pull itself away, slip through the fence, and disappear from sight. The llama snorted and stamped the ground and brayed some more—this time, Burrington was sure, with pride.
posted by Zed at 8:56 AM on January 25 [5 favorites]


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