Monday, September 27, 2010

The Smart Ones

I've found that alpacas are a lot like people. They each have their own personality, and some appear to be smarter than others.

Up until recently I was convinced that our smartest alpaca is Kateri. It's not that others are dumb, but, for example, I've found Victoria could care less what I want. Victoria is the leader of our older girls herd. But she is either oblivious to many things, or doesn't care. Maybe if you are the leader, you don't have to care what the humans want. Kateri is the nervous Nelly of the group. She's quick to sense a problem. She also seems to know what I am saying to her, or is able to pick up what I want. For example, there are times I want some of the alpacas in the paddock, and some out of the paddock. Victoria wanders where ever she wants and seems to ignore any request or action I make (when we want alpacas in a certain spot, we herd them there, this sometimes means waving our arms to get them to move to where we want them). Kateri has always been good about going where I want her to. And, I have literally seen Kateri shove another alpaca to move them where I was trying to get them. I swear Kateri has a strong sense of what is going on, she's very intuitive.

Recently I've added Snickers to the smart alpaca list. Snickers is one of our thin girls so she eats grain in a separate area with her cria, Rose. Snickers knows where she is supposed to go, to get her into this separate area. For awhile we were separating Rose from Snickers. We would do this after they ate their grain. Snickers would be herded into the old girls pasture, Rose into the maiden girl's pasture. By the second day of trying this, Rose began to balk. Of course she didn't want to be separated from her mom. Snickers is an older experienced mom and appeared to understand it was time to begin weaning. Snickers would walk over to the maiden girls' gate, and push Rose at it. Then I could get Rose in there. Then Snickers would walk over to the gate to the older girl's pasture (with no herding from me) and stand there until I let her in. She knew exactly what I wanted!!

I appreciate the smart ones. They are the ones that not only get themselves where I want them, but also help move the others, the ones who seem oblivious to my desires.

My son has a theory on why some animals know what humans are saying. His idea is that this happens when the animal was a human in a past life. His theory is that some of their comprehension carries over from their past life. He thinks this is grounds to prove reincarnation. I'm not saying I personally believe in reincarnation, but at our house we often will consider the "what if's." I encourage my kids to wonder, to explore their curiosity. Zack has a lot of theories, many of which resemble the thought process of an 8 year old boy :) (since he is an 8 year old boy). This particular theory has more merit than many of them. Life is never dull with Zack around.

1 comment:

Noah and Jillian Schwander said...

Someone asked me the other day if alpacas are very smart. I had to ponder that for awhile. While I think there are many other species much smarter than alpacas, alpacas do tend to be able to sense things. Some can sense them better than others. Like in your herd...we have the smart ones, the calm ones, the spastic ones, the bossy ones, the ditsy ones, the timid ones....they all come with their own personality. I do like Zack's theory though...I have never thought of that. Something interesting to ponder.

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