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Alpacas visit South Dakota library

March 2, 2019
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Alpacas visit the downtown branch of the Rapid City, S.D., Public Library on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019. (Ryan Hermens/Rapid City Journal via AP)
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Alpacas visit the downtown branch of the Rapid City, S.D., Public Library on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019. (Ryan Hermens/Rapid City Journal via AP)

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — “You don’t see alpacas in the library every day,” Charlotte Preble said as she stood next to three of the tall, woolly animals visiting the downtown Rapid City Public Library.

“I like them because they’re just so darn fluffy,” the 10-year-old Rapid City resident told the Rapid City Journal.

Preble was among dozens of enthusiastic visitors who stopped by to see the alpacas that walked around a small area on the second floor of the library as people petted, fed and took selfies with them.

The alpaca visit is part of the library’s “No School Day” series, when the library plans fun educational activities for youth, said Janet Parr, events coordinator.

Parr was thinking about how cold it has been recently and decided how a visit from warm animals might be nice. She brought the alpacas to the library after learning that Glenn and Deb Lepp raise them in the nearby community of Caputa.

They’re just “so adorable,” Parr said.

While the library has brought in poultry and reptiles before, mammals have never visited, she added.

In addition to bringing in the alpacas, Parr set up several alpaca-themed arts-and-crafts stations so the children who visited could practice teamwork and creativity.

“I love animals, and I just wanted to see alpacas since I hadn’t seen them for a while,” 11-year-old Amelia Holy Rock said as she created an alpaca from colorful felt and pipe cleaners.

Holy Rock, of Rapid City, said her mom learned of the event after seeing the library’s Facebook video of the alpacas entering the building and riding up the elevator.

Other youth colored in drawings of alpacas and made alpaca finger puppets out of paper and pompoms. People could also enter a raffle to win a set of 3D-printed alpacas.

Preble said she learned that alpacas come from South America and others discovered as Glenn Lepp explained that alpacas, like llamas, will sometimes spit when they get angry.

The animals were a bit stressed from all the attention but are overall gentle and kind animals, Lepp said. His ranch, Caputa Alpacas, has hosted school groups and welcomes visitors who want to meet the animals or buy alpaca wool products.

“Everybody likes them,” Lepp said.

For the visit to the library, Lepp brought Angel and Snowball, two adult cream-colored alpacas, and Zion, a baby with dark brown wool.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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