An alpaca is an animal that resembles a long-haired llama or a vicuña. Most alpacas are bred for their wool, which is a popular fiber for sweaters and blankets.
Alpacas are a smaller relative of the camel, and they're kept as a domesticated animal by farmers who sell them for meat, or more often, their soft wool. Alpaca fleece is silky and luxurious, and it can be knitted into sweaters and hats that are warmer than sheep's wool and much less itchy. The word alpaca is Spanish, from the Aymara word allpaca, and possibly a root that meant "yellowish-red."