Llama is a close relative of the camel, but without the hump. Llamas are native to South America but can be found all over the world because they were domesticated several thousand years ago. Wild llamas are found in mountains, meadows and deserts. Llamas are extremely hardy and long-lived animals that are used to transport goods in harsh environments. Llama's wool was also used to make fabrics, carpets and ropes. Llama's manure can be used as fuel after leaving it in the sun. Some people even eat llama meat. Although llamas are exploited extensively by humans, they are not included in the list of endangered areas.
Llamas make excellent guards for herds of small animals.
Llamas are large animals. They can be 6 feet tall (at the head) and reach between 280 and 450 pounds of weight.
They are very social and will ‘adopt’ a group of sheep or goats as their own herd.
Llama's body is covered with wool which can be black, gray, white or brown, with variety of patterns.
They will protect the herd by chasing off coyotes and other predators.
Llamas can be divided in two groups according to the length of their fur: short coated (called Ccara) and the medium coated (called Curaca).
They can distinguish between the neighbor’s dog and a predatory coyote.
Llama has elongated face, large nostrils and long ears that are curved inwardly. Llama's ears are shaped like "banana".
All camelids spit or stick out their tongue when they are annoyed.
Llama has excellent sense of sight, smell and hearing, which are used for detection of potential danger.
One of the ways llamas communicate is by humming.
Llamas have inherited fear of coyote, mountain lions and other dog-like animals. Some llamas are used as "guards" of the sheep because they quickly alert and protect the herd when they spot a predator.
Camelids first appeared on the Central Plains of North America about 40 million years ago.
Llamas are very social animals. They live in groups composed of up to 20 animals.
About 3 million years ago, llamas' ancestors migrated to South America.
Llamas are known as animals that spit when provoked or threatened. They can spit at humans also, but they usually spit at each other to solve misunderstandings in the group.
During the last ice age (10,000-12,000 years ago) camelids went extinct in North America.
Llamas are herbivores (eat only plants). They eat grass and ferns mainly. Llama on the farm may eat 6 pounds of hay per day.
Now there are around 160,000 llamas and 100,000 alpacas in the United States and Canada.
Llama is not hoofed animal. It has two toenails on each foot and leathery pad underneath.
Llamas were first domesticated and used as pack animals 4,000 to 5,000 years ago in the Peruvian highlands.
Llamas are very intelligent, but stubborn animals. When the load on its back is too heavy, llama will refuse to carry it until some of the load is removed.
Llamas can grow as much as 6 feet tall though the average llama between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 9 inches tall.
400 pounds heavy llama can easily carry 100 pounds heavy load for 10 to 12 miles.
Llamas weigh between 280 and 450 pounds and can carry 25 to 30 percent of their body weight, so a 400-pound male llama can carry about 100 to 120 pounds on a trek of 10 to 12 miles with no problem.
Llamas do not have specific time of mating. Male usually chases female for up to 10 minutes until she is finally ready to mate.
If you try to overload a llama with too much weight, the llama is likely to lie down or simply refuse to move.
Pregnancy in llamas lasts 11 ½ months and ends with a single baby. Female will give birth to a baby in the morning hours and young llama will be able to run with the rest of the herd by the evening.
In the Andes Mountains of Peru, llama fleece has been shorn and used in textiles for about 6,000 years. Llama wool is light, warm, water-repellent, and free of lanolin.
Lifespan of llamas is between 20 and 30 years.
Llama poop has almost no odor.