It's snow problem for hardy Alpacas

It's snow problem for hardy Alpacas

Rocky the Alpaca

Rocky and Esimann

Malcolm Skinner carries out a bundle of hay

Children by an igloo in Bicester taken by Jane Membury

Jon Squires plays with dog Eddie at Shipton-under-Wychwood

A patio scene in Marston taken by Gill Shepherd, of Oxford

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by

THE snow has meant more rations and warmer bedding for most of the animals at Millet’s Farm Centre near Abingdon.

But Alpacas Rocky and Eismann have also been showing off the skills that make them some of the world’s hardiest animals.

While the county shivers in freezing temperatures, Rocky and Eismann have been keeping warm thanks to their thick Peruvian fur, or fibre.

And they’ve also been using their heads – and their noses and tongues – to reach the tasty grass buried beneath the snow.

Millet’s outdoor animal keeper, Malcolm Skinner, 46, explained: “Alpacas are used to extremely cold temperatures, originating as they do from the Andes mountains.

“While most of the other animals here have been eating extra hay, Rocky and Eismann prefer to scratch and nuzzle , using their toes to burrow into the snow, before searching the green grass out with their mouths and long tongues.”

Alpacas come from the highest regions of the Andes mountains in Peru and are bred mostly for their fibre – a thick, silky fur which not only keeps them warm, but is also used for making very soft, knitted and woven items.

Mr Skinner continued: “We have been giving the ponies, guinea pigs, sheep, goats and pigs extra warm bedding and more food than usual, but Rocky and Eismann are undeterred by this weather.

“People love seeing their woolly coats and although they fight a bit amongst themselves and are not that fond of dogs, they are pretty friendly animals.”

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