These include wool and silk. Wool comes mainly from fleece of sheep. We get wool also from goat, yak, camel and rabbit. Silk is produced by cocoon-spinning silkworm. Animal fibres are made up of proteins, the complex compounds that form a major part of bodies of all animals.

Properties of Wool

The hair on the body of wool-yielding animals traps a lot of air. Air spaces between the wool fibres trap air. Since air is a poor conductor of heat this shields the body from cold and keeps it warm. That is why woollen clothes are worn in winters.

The fleece of a sheep consists of two types of fibres-the coarse beard hair, and the fine and soft under-hair that grows close to the skin. The under-hair provides the fibre for making wool.

Types of Wool

Alpaca, llama, and camel-hair yarns are spun from the fleece of animals that are members of the camel family. These fibres are soft and warm, and lightweight.


Cashmere is an extremely soft, resilient, and easy-to-dye fibre. This rare and expensive fibre is combed once a year from the bellies of the cashmere and other goats, which is found only in the mountains of China and Tibet.


Angora, which is combed from the Angora rabbit, is an extremely soft, fluffy and warm fibre.


Mohair, spun from the fleece of the Angora goat, is extremely lightweight. Angora goat is found in hilly regions such as Jammu and Kashmir. (Mohair comes from the Angora goat, while angora comes from the Angora rabbit)

Yak Wool

Yak wool is popular in Tibet and Ladakh.

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