In Australia male alpacas are bred to become guards for herds of sheep and goats. If these animals are not bought by the time they are two years old then they are sold to become meat. One lucky little alpaca was too small to do guard duty but was saved from slaughter by being adopted as a pet for a boy named Matt. Now Chewpaca is one famous dude.
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Chewy was a Christmas present in 2014 for the teen after the boy became interested in alpacas after a visit to a farm. Mom and Dad had said no to getting a dog, but somehow an alpaca was okay. This was probably because alpacas don't require a lot of care. Chewy mostly just grazes in the yard and hangs out. He got his name because he likes to, well, chew. Chewpaca is also a darn clever name derived from the popular Star Wars character Chewbacca.
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After a couple of days living with Matt at his home in Adelaide, Australia, Chewy began to get the hang of being a pet and would let the boy pet him. He started going for walks with Matt and they even get out and go to the beach together. He loves playing in the waves and rolling in the sand. It wasn't long before Chewy accepted Matt as his human brother.
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Chewy draws large crowds when he is out and about -- so large that his walks are now often done after dark. The alpaca also has his own Instagram page where he poses in a plethora of pics.
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According to Chris Williams, the owner of Ambersun Alpacas, the animals can make great pets. They just need plenty of grazing room with native grasses. In Australia alpacas are allowed to be kept as pets in cities as long as they do not create a problem. In the U.S. you need to check your state's and city's laws and ordinances on keeping exotic pets. Oh, and alpaca meat? Believe it or not it is legal in nearly all 50 states. (Ew.)
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Chewy may be easier to take care of than a dog, but he isn't as affectionate. And there are other issues as well. When he is surprised or annoyed he spits saliva that really smells bad. And that spit is generally directed at someone. On the plus side he does all of his "business" in the same spot so he is easy to clean up after. He loves to eat grass and just about any kind of fruit.
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Alpacas are camelids, which means that they are related to camels and llamas. They originally come from South America where they are kept in herds in the Andes mountains. They are not bred to be beasts of burden like camels and llamas, but are shorn like sheep for their wool. Oh, and Chewy's tendency to chew is a common trait of all alpacas.