Photo: Blazen Images (iStock)

Alpacas don’t eat much. According to the Alpaca Owners Association Inc., an organization whose website I am thrilled to have any excuse to read, the animals eat about two pounds of hay or grass per 125 pounds of body weight: “the general rule of thumb is 1.5 percent of the animal’s body weight daily in hay or fresh pasture.” That recommended diet, you’ll note, does not include peanuts and Doritos. We repeat: Alpacas should not eat peanuts and Doritos.

And yet, a thus-far unnamed man has been repeatedly dumping precisely those junk food items in the alpaca pastures at the Creekside Animal Hospital in Middleburg, Florida, which led to the death of the hospital’s youngest alpaca Sunday. According to News 4 Jacksonville, veterinarians at the hospital say a man in a blue car has been seen repeatedly tossing Doritos, peanuts, Cheese Nips, and animal crackers into the alpaca pasture; they say it’s the consumption of peanuts that led to the young alpaca’s death this weekend.

What a moron.

I can understand the impulse to feed cute animals, sure. But let’s remember most animals are best left to eat the foods that naturally occur in their environment (i.e., not Doritos). Creekside Animal Hospital said in a Facebook post that its staff had spoken to the man at least four times, asking him to stop feeding the alpacas inappropriate foods. Now, a year-old alpaca is dead.

According to the (really sad) Facebook post:

“…the little guy didn’t know any better and he overindulged. We did everything we could for him including a blood transfusion from his father, but when alpacas suffer from endotoxemia, it is rarely something that can be fixed. That being said, it took its toll on us and now we are in fear for the rest of the herd, including the goats. We will likely be moving them to a new location because we have no way to protect them from this person.”

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In conclusion, again, it bears repeating, over and over: What a moron.