4 Wild Animals with Curly Hair

Photo: Bonnie Fink / Shutterstock

Curly hair is extremely rare in the wild. Most animals sporting a curly coat are domesticated animals that were selectively bred for this trait.

However, there are a few animals with curly hair that’s natural, and in this article, we’ll be listing them down.

  • Mountain Gorillas
  • Alpacas
  • American Bison
  • Bactrian Camels

1. Mountain Gorillas

Mountain Gorilla
Photo: Jason Hall / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Scientific name: Gorilla beringei beringei

Mountain gorillas generally have thicker fur than other primates, which allows them to live in colder environments. However, when they’re still young, mountain gorillas are one of the few animals with black curly hair.

This happens because of the damp environment in the rainforests, and it usually stops happening when they get older because their hair gets shorter. 

As they age, the hair on their backs becomes shorter and the hair on their arms becomes longer.

2. Alpacas

Photo: Amy Shaw Photography / Shutterstock

Scientific name: Lama pacos

Among the few wild animals with curly hair, alpacas definitely lead the pack as they’re the only species to often grow such hair. Almost all alpacas have long, shaggy hair, which is why people domesticated them 6,000 years ago.

Their hair is great for protection from the wind and the cold, and they don’t stop growing it until they die. Even today, alpaca hair is a very sought-after textile material, and it’s a more environmentally conscious material than artificial textiles.

3. American Bison

Photo: Bonnie Fink / Shutterstock

Scientific name: Bison bison

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American bison are animals with short curly hair, unlike alpacas, which grow long hair. Their purposes are similar, though, as they serve as a great insulator and protect them from the environment. 

The fur of a bison is much shorter, and it’s mostly concentrated around the head and the neck.

Bison were once farmed, not just for meat and dairy products, but for their wool too. 

The two bison subspecies – the plains bison and the wood bison – both have very curly hair, mostly growing on the top of their heads, making it look like they have a haircut.

4. Bactrian Camels

Photo: WireStock Creators / Shutterstock

Scientific name: Camelus bactrianus

The final entry on our list, Bactrian camels, are animals with poofy hair alongside their necks and on top of their heads. Bactrian camels also have two humps covered in fur, while long hair is also concentrated around their forelegs.

These animals live in central Asia, and they’ve developed an incredible tolerance for cold and high altitudes – something that they greatly owe to their hair. 

Just like alpacas, they were domesticated and groomed for their hair, but also for their riding abilities.

James Ball

James has had a lifelong passion for animals and nature, tracing back to his childhood where he first began fostering intimate knowledge and connection with pet frogs and snakes. He has since honed this interest into a career as a trained Wildlife Biologist, specializing in Biogeography, sustainability and conservation. In addition to his professional pursuits, James maintains an active lifestyle, regularly indulging in outdoor activities such as hiking, and musical pursuits like playing piano and swimming.

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