We’ve listed 10 things you really need to know about alpacas to inspire students to create their own adventure with alpaca companions, just like the one Alex goes on in the book.
Generate some ideas, then get them to write it or draw it. The choice is yours. We’d love to see the results! Send them in to email@example.com and your school will automatically go into the draw to win a $500 prize pack of books from Fremantle Press.
1. Alpacas are flame- and water-resistant
The fibres of alpaca wool are flame- and water-resistant. Think of the possibilities for superhero alpaca stories, amazing rescues by firefighter alpacas, alpacas who can jump over spitting volcanoes without getting burned, alpacas who can whisk your protagonist to safety over a wide river. Alpacas who don’t need an umbrella …
2. Alpacas spit when they’re angry or annoyed
Just like camels and llamas, alpacas get a bit ‘spitty’ when they’re angry. Make the most of this secret weapon. Could your heroes escape their enemies using rapid alpaca-fire as protection, or even open up a secret door thanks to their companion’s well-aimed pressure spit?
3. Alpacas can curl up until they’re really small
Alpacas fold their legs under their body when they sit and lie down, meaning they can fit into some super small spaces. Think alpacas in cars, hiding to eavesdrop on an evil genius’s secret plan to take over the world, or hiding under a teeny table because they’ve eaten all the cookies …
4. They’re ancient – literally
Alpacas had been around for over 6,000 years when they were first domesticated by the Incas. Imagine how much knowledge has been passed down through generations of alpacas. They’d have seen the World Wars, been around for the arrival of Europeans in America, and seen the dawns of new ages.
5. Alpacas are herbivores
If you thought about having an evil alpaca antagonist, think again. These creatures are super gentle and have no interest in eating anything other than grass, leaves and hay.
6. Their feet are super soft
Ninja alpaca? Yes. Burglar alpaca? For sure! Alpacas have pads, not hooves, on their feet, which don’t churn up the ground as much or make noisy clopping sounds when they walk. Their sneaky silence might make them the ideal characters to do the dirty work in an adventure story.
7. They are masters of disguise
Alpacas come in a range of different colours, from black, to brown, to white, to everything in between. Okay, so it’s not the entire rainbow, but if they’re out adventuring in the wilderness and need to blend in, they can.
8. They’re hypo-allergenic
If a protagonist has allergies to dogs, cats or horses, these animals won’t make great travelling companions. Alpaca wool is hypo-allergenic, which means even if the hero is prone to a sneeze, sniffle or wheeze, they’re safe and sound with these awesome adventure buddies.
9. They make some, uh, interesting sounds
Alpacas tend to make a humming sound when they’re worried, bored, curious, happy or just, well, any time really. Warning: this could be troublesome if a protagonist needs to keep quiet or is trying to work out what their alpaca buddy is thinking or feeling, but it’s better than the alpaca’s other noise, which is a loud braying.
10. They love to sunbathe
Set an adventure somewhere with a big warm sun and it’s guaranteed the alpacas will want to stop to catch some rays. Maybe avoid beaches and desert islands and keep them on their toes with a rainy, stormy or cold landscape. Otherwise the adventure could take a VERY long time.
Teaching notes are available here and you can order sets of free bookmarks and our super fun alpaca activity sheet by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.