Chilling with alpacas

    They are best-known for their fine wool, but they also provide relaxation: Alpacas are said to help reduce stress. Our colleague Erik Rulands confirms that it’s true. In the Black Forest, he devoted himself to meditative alpaca observation.

    On the left Erik Rulands with his favorite alpaca Manni, which stands out from the group with brown fur and white “bangs”

    Alpacas are as trendy as unicorns used to be a couple of years ago: They adorn clothes, appear in commercials and are enormously popular on social media. So it’s no surprise that Erik Rulands fell for the mini camels on the Internet, when a friend shared pictures of his brother's alpaca farm in the Black Forest. "It was a spontaneous idea to take a few days off there. And it was a good choice," said Erik after he’d returned. "Although alpacas are rather shy and do not seek instant contact with humans, they have a very relaxing effect.”

    Like many alpaca owners in Germany, Erik's host offers adventure hikes with the animals. Other farmers even market alpaca walks as an anti-stress therapy for managers. Normally, participants don't have to be afraid of spitting, as the colleague had been assured: It is right that big Llamas spit to protect themselves. Alpacas usually spit at other alpacas, for example when they fight over food. To become a target as a human being, you must have spent a lot of time with the animals and be recognized as a herd member.