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羊駝 | 高原上的微笑神獸 The Alpaca: Its Fleece, Features, and Future

牠們的毛有價值,被用來製作織物
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羊駝原生於南美洲,與其近親駱馬都曾是印加人最愛飼養的動物
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文章主講 Karen, Chris

The word domestication1 refers to the taming of wild animals for food, work, or pleasure. Cats and dogs, pigs and cows, horses and sheep all once roamed freely, even before humans evolved. Later, these animals were raised by humans in controlled environments.

Native to South America, the alpaca was a favorite animal raised by the Inca along with its cousin the llama. The latter is a larger, hardier species used as a pack animal. The alpaca, smaller and lighter, was and still is raised for its fine, silky fleece. Both animals can survive in high-altitude environments. The alpaca, in particular, can be found at altitudes of up to 5,000 meters, a kilometer higher than the peak of Taiwan’s Mt. Jade. People and animals living at such elevations must adapt to the thinner, oxygen-poor atmosphere. This is why alpacas have far more red blood cells than other mammals.

Standing only 90 centimeters at the shoulder and weighing no more than 65 kilograms, the alpaca is noticeably smaller than the llama. It is also friendlier to humans than its larger cousins, which are known to not only spit at each other in anger but at humans as well. The alpaca rarely, if ever, spits at people.

In such a difficult terrain and climate, communication is very important for the alpacas. They are known to shriek when they find themselves in the face of danger. Males have a bird-like scream when fighting. When relaxed, alpacas click or cluck at one another. They even hum when feeling comfortable and contented!

Though wild alpacas are uncommon, domesticated ones number in the millions. Hopefully, the alpaca will be around well into the future.


  1. Why are cats and dogs mentioned in the passage?
    (A) To give an example of how a wild animal became tamed.
    (B) To compare the popularity of several wild animals.
    (C) To introduce some species that were native to South America.
    (D) To demonstrate the ongoing evolution of some common animals.
  2. What can be inferred from the second paragraph?
    (A) The llama and alpaca run faster than other animals.
    (B) No animals can survive at altitudes above 5,000 meters.
    (C) Red blood cells supply oxygen to all parts of the body.
    (D) Taiwan’s Mt. Jade used to be home to llamas and alpacas.
  3. Which of the following information CANNOT be found in the passage?
    (A) A behavioral difference between the llama and the alpaca.
    (B) The purpose of raising llamas and alpacas.
    (C) The height and weight of the alpaca.
    (D) The average lifespan of the alpaca.
  4. Which of the following statements about the animals fit in section A of the diagram?
    羊駝 | 高原上的微笑神獸 The Alpaca: Its Fleece, Features, and Future
    a. They’re raised for carrying passengers and goods.
    b. Their wool is valuable and used to make fabrics.
    c. They click and spit when they feel tense.
    d. They originate12 from South America.
    e. Millions of them live in groups in the wild.
    (A) a & e
    (B) b & d
    (C) c & e
    (D) b & c

 

Ans: 1. A 2. C 3. D 4. B

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作者

Bruce E. Bagnell
Bruce E. Bagnell
常春藤解析英語雜誌資深外籍教師,中英文流利,曾為台灣大學資深教授,與賴世雄老師為多年好友。