Saturday morning was…interesting at the ranch. Mom was cleaning (as always), when all of the alpacas started chirping in alarm. Normally one or two will chirp when they spot something amiss, like deer at the top of the driveway or a bunny in the turnout. Having the whole herd chittering away is kind of like being stuck in the middle of a flock of supersized starlings. In this video, you can hear what a call sounds like, imagine that multiplied by 10.
Mom rushed out into the paddock to see what was wrong, and saw that a coyote had come right to the edge of the turnout. While the rest of the alpacas stood back and carried on, Marcello charged forward. He ran to the edge of the fence, and with only feet (and a strong, high fence) between him and the coyote, he reared back on his hind legs and began stamping the ground. The coyote decided he had something important to do somewhere else, turned tail and ran.
The coyote was not much of a danger to the herd. The babies are about twice the size of a coyote at this point. In fact, he was probably hunting Brittany’s archnemisis, the bunnies. But I’m still surprised that Marcello would defend his ground so aggressively. Alpacas aren’t really known for their excellent defense mechanisms (ptooe! I spit on you!).