Verb 1. pronk – jump straight up, bound, jump, leap, spring, move forward by leaps and bounds.
Pronking as defined by Wikipedia is a gait of quadrapeds, involving jumping high into the air by lifting all four feet off the ground simultaneously. This may occur during pursuit by a predator. It might also occur during play.
Pronking is also seen when they are just plain happy. We frequently see our crias and weanlings pronking in play.
We’ll never forget the first time we saw alpacas pronking. We were at a weekend-long educational seminar to learn about alpacas. At the end of the day, we were sitting on the patio visiting with other participants and watching the alpacas in the nearby pastures. It was a picture perfect scene. Just at sunset, the animals began to get more active and before we knew it, the whole herd was parading around the pasture in leaps and bounds. What a spectacular sight! It was pure joy and beauty in motion.
As we watched, our instructor explained to us that this springy, leaping gait is called pronking, and that the alpacas – particularly the young ones – often take up this activity just before dark. Presumably, this behavior is carried with them from their native South America where the nights get bitterly cold. Bringing the body temperature up before dark helped to keep them warm throughout the night.
This display of pronking made such an impression on us, that we wanted to capture that expression of pure joy in the name of our farm – and it’s a fun conversation starter! People always ask “What is pronking?”