5 Life Lessons from Alpacas

Nature’s answer to Marcus Aurelius? You decide.

Fiona Cameron Lister
6 min readOct 11, 2023


Three home-spun philosophers. Image: Fiona Cameron Lister

In our frantic, digitally-dominated daily lives, sometimes we need a reminder that there is wisdom in simplicity.

The challenge is to be open to learning from it.

Very few animals have mastered the art of simple living better than alpacas. They are experts in making the most of every day and enjoying basic things. It doesn’t take much to make an alpaca happy.

I’ve kept a small, soulful herd of Suri alpacas since 2013. They have enhanced my life beyond measure.

I chose Suris because I loved their supermodel look. Their fleece is silky and swings and shimmers when they move. Although kids (and a lot of adults) prefer the teddy-bear appeal of Huacaya alpacas, I love the Suris’ shyness and delicacy.

The astonishing fleece of the beautiful Suri alpaca. Image: Fiona Cameron Lister

And because I believe we can learn a lot from Nature, I’ve put together five powerful life lessons these gentle creatures can teach us.

1. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

My alpacas know every inch of their paddock and will immediately notice the tiniest change: a rake placed a different way against a fence, a jacket draped over a post, a fallen tree branch. These potentially alarming events are signalled by pricked ears and raised tails and a tentative approach, always in the company of others.

I once brought a football into their enclosure just to see what they’d do. It might as well have been an unexploded bomb. They circled it cautiously, sniffed it and then bolted away in all directions when I tried to kick it gently towards them.

But then they sidled back as curiosity conquered fear.

The same happened when I showed them one of my orgonite pyramids. (Life in my house is a tad eccentric.)

Image: Fiona Cameron Lister

You see alpacas will always do stuff, even if it scares them stupid.



Fiona Cameron Lister

Experienced British writer/editor/mentor in Italy | MWC semi-finalist| Loves words, history, humour, unusual subjects| Contact: fcameronlister@gmail.com