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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Shear joy! The Austrian alpacas given retro hairstyles at their annual shave

By James Titcomb

The annual alpaca shearing is a ritual on the Austrian farm of Alpaca-Land. But this year, the furry animals were given a surprise, with a funky range of retro haircuts.

Alpacas are native to South America, but in certain climates they require a springtime shave to keep them comfortable and allow them to grow a new coat for winter.

The alpacas were given stylish new looks by Carina and Erwin Stadler on the farm near in Goeming, near Salzburg in western Austria.

Looking good: These alpacas seem amused at their new styles

As these pictures show, they were given a range of questionable cuts, from mullets to goatees.

The animals, closely related to llamas, are bred mainly for their fleeces. Five to ten pounds of hair is shaved off an adult alpaca every year.

With alpacas living for up to 20 years, their owners have the time to hone their styling skills before they find the perfect fit for each animal.

Close shave: Five to ten pounds of hair is shaved off an adult alpaca every year

Fashion victims: The annual alpaca shearing is a tradition at Alpaca Land in Austria

The alpaca's thick fur is considered some of the best fibre around, and is perfect for making jumpers, socks and coats.

In 2010 fur from hundreds of alpacas in America was used to help soak up oil in BP's Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.

Face off: Two of the freshly-shaven animals compare styles

Carina Stadler, left, cuddles one of her alpacas, and her father, right, helps to shear it



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