UNSTEADY on her long legs and only five days old ... meet the young female alpaca taking her first tentative sniffs of the March air.

More common in South America than South Lakeland, this cute youngster was born in the unlikely setting of Oxenholme, near Kendal.

Landlord Andy Hipwell runs the village’s Station Inn, which keeps 12 of the animals and has a share in three stud males.

“I went out to check on them and, lo and behold, there was a little baby sitting there in the shelter,” explained a delighted Mr Hipwell, 51.

“The gestation period is about 11-and-a-half months so we were expecting her around Easter. We think she’s three weeks early and people can’t get over how small she is but how long her legs are.”

Measuring just over the knees of most people, the youngster is already proving a star attraction at the pub which has been breeding the animals for six years.

The breed’s official name is ‘huacaya’ and it eats grass, hay and pellets with a mineral supplement.

Mr Hipwell, who has been in charge at The Station Inn for eight years, added: “Some alpacas can be quite affectionate and they’re a hardy breed. The little one’s mother is Icicle and we haven’t quite named her yet but we’re thinking of Florence, Flo or Flora.”

Despite The Station’s reputation for food, Mr Hipwell insisted the alpacas are part of the family.

“You won’t be finding her on our menu!” he said.