Why do alpacas smile or grin a lot?

Smiling - grinning - Alpacas
Smiling – grinning – Alpacas. Photo: Cute Pet Club on Instagram.

There are only two reasons why alpacas smile a lot: they are happy or their facial anatomy gives us the impression that they are smiling. If they smile when they are happy they are like people which would be unusual. My strong suspicion is that alpacas smile because their faces are made like that. They probably smile all the time or a lot of the time and all of them can’t be that happy all the time. They probably wear a fixed grin as we say and it reminds me of Grumpy Cat who had a fixed grumpy expression not because she was grumpy but because her anatomy was made like that. It gives a false impression.

There might be an evolutionary reason why alpacas have a facial anatomy which gives the impression that they are smiling. It may present a form of body language to other alpacas which is friendly. When individuals of any animal species are friendly towards each other it improves their chances of survival. That is a thought from the top of my head but it makes sense.

RELATED: Ear-cropping and declawing: modifying the anatomy of companion animals is a cruel human habit – this about humans’ desire to modify nature and animals’ anatomy to ‘make’ things that they prefer the look of. It is horrible behaviour.

In the cat world, which is a world I know well, any cat who smiles is smiling because their face is made like that at least predominantly i.e. it is their anatomy. It does beg the question whether animals can actually smile in expressing joy and happiness. Sometimes I ask that question of my cat because sometimes he appears to smile although it will be an incredibly faint smile.

As to emotions, animals do feel at least the basic emotions such as contentment, unhappiness, anger and fear et cetera. Whether they can experience guilt and shame and so on is another matter and that aspect of their emotions and behaviour is work in progress for humans.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful Note: I will donate 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment made over the next three months on pages where comments can be made.
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Post Category: Behavior