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Human ability to interpret alpaca body language

By J. Kapustka, M. Budzynska

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In recent years, the interest in the rearing and use of alpacas (Vicugna pacos) has been increasing. However, the number of scientific articles on the behavioral traits of this animal species is still limited. The aim of the study was to determine the human ability to read the body language of alpacas with the use of a survey method. Polish-speaking respondents (n = 103, 30 males and 73 females) answered to 9 questions that presented nine pictures of alpacas with different body postures. Respondents were divided into three groups according to the following: (1) the type of education (Agricultural Sciences, Forestry, and Veterinary Sciences; Biological Sciences; Other), (2) the declared level of knowledge of body language of this species (Yes, No, or I do not know), and (3) the declared level of contact with alpaca (Yes or No). Respondents with education in Agricultural Sciences, Forestry, and Veterinary Sciences achieved significantly higher scores in the interpretation of alpaca body language than those with education in Biological Sciences (P < 0.001) and Others (P = 0.004). There were no significant relationships (χ2 = 7.04; P = 0.424) between the results of the interpretation of alpaca body language and level of contact of the respondents with these animals. Respondents who declared that they were able to recognize alpaca body language scored significantly higher in the survey part with the images of alpaca body postures than those declaring their inability to read body signals (P = 0.013) or those respondents who did not know whether they were able to interpret alpaca body language (P = 0.022). The results of the present study indicate that the respondents had difficulty in correct interpretation of alpaca body language presented in the questionnaire images. Correct interpretation of the behavior of these animals ensures appropriate conditions of rearing and use, which can meet their needs, improve their welfare, and contribute to establishment of a positive human-alpaca relationship.

Date 2021
Publication Title Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research
Volume 42
Pages 16-21
DOI 10.1016/j.jveb.2020.12.003
Language English
Author Address Department of Animal Ethology and Wildlife Management, University of Life Sciences in Lublin, Lublin, Poland.monika.budzynska@up.lublin.pl
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Alpacas
  2. Analytics
  3. Animal behavior
  4. Animals
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Anthrozoology
  7. Behavioral research
  8. Camels
  9. Communication
  10. Humans
  11. Llamas.
  12. Mammals
  13. Men
  14. Movement
  15. physical activity
  16. Posture
  17. Primates
  18. ungulates
  19. vertebrates
  20. Veterinary sciences