9 Things to Know About Llamas
Ahh, the lovable Llama. This mammal weighs in at around 250 lbs and reaches a height of 47 inches.
But far from being a threat, the Llama is a friendly animal that loves company and people. Originating from South America, and as a close relative of the camel, this hump-less breed has many fascinating facts. Here are our favorites:
1. They are outdoorsy but not so sporty! Used by the people of the Andes Mountains for moving around, these agile beasts can cover up to 20 miles in a day. Their feet are stable with two toes, ideal for rocky terrains. Due to their camel-like qualities, they can also forgo water for some time, making them ideal for long-distance travel. But, they can be divas too! Overload your llama and expect to be kicked or spat at, in response to their distaste.
2. Their wool is useful. Covered in wool, these furry creatures produce enough wool that can be used in fabrics. Soft and lanolin-free, this versatile fabric can be used in clothing.
3. They make good companions. As friendly domesticated animals, llamas enjoy being around others, often found in packs of 20. They have long been recognized for their companionship too. So much, that they are even used in some nursing homes as part of therapy programs. Who could resist their toothy smiles?
4. Males don’t get along.In the wild, it’s about survival of the fittest. As such, it has been known for llamas to battle each other for mating rights. Despite being a non-attacking creature, males don’t tend to get along with each other. During breeding season, it has even been known for males to bite each other.
5. They can be fearsome. But these cute creatures have a weakness: coyotes, mountain lions and any dog-like animals. They perceive these to be predators and have an inherent fear of them.
6. They love veggies. Our woolly friends are also herbivores. This means that they have a plant-based diet, mainly consisting of grass, foliage, ferns and hay, which their elongated necks are ideally designed for. In domestic environments, they enjoy treats such as sliced apples and broccoli too.
7. A llama is for life! The ideal farm friend, llamas are known as guard animals, fitting well into the environment and easy to care for. In North America, there are some 158,000 llamas – they are among some of the most family-friendly animals in petting zoos. From the Long Island Game Farm in New York, to the San Diego Zoo, there are no shortage of visitation opportunities.
8. A baby llama is called a cria. The gestation period of a llama is just under a year, and results in a single offspring called a ‘cria’. These animals can live long lives, often between 20 and 30 years.
9. Don’t call me Al! And finally, with close ancestry, it’s easy to confuse the humble llama with an alpaca. However, there are noticeable differences; the most obvious of these is that llamas tend to be much larger in size, while alpacas have short pointy ears.