Llama

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Physical Characteristics

Standing at about 4 feet tall at their shoulder and weighing 250 lbs. on average, llamas are large mammals that have served the people of the Andes Mountains as pack animals for thousands of years. Their thick, multi-colored wool has been a major part of Peruvian culture stretching all the way back to the Incan empire. They are also used as pack animals and can take on 50 to 75 lbs. of weight.

Habitat & Diet

Llamas are exceptionally well suited to their high elevation habitat. They consume grass and the sparse foliage available to them at high altitudes. They are also a camelid and require very little water for their body size to stay hydrated. The Incans saw the potential for a low-maintenance pack animal that also produced wool and provided a high meat yield and so they became an integral part of Incan culture.

Social Behavior

Llamas are very social herd animals that are extremely inquisitive by nature. They get along with humans very easily and can live with other domesticated animals with little problems. They can be temperamental when mistreated or mishandled. This can result in bouts of spitting, nipping and even kicking.

Sources

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Fascinating Facts

    • Did you know llamas make great guard animals? In the 1980s, ranchers looking for a way to lower the rate of predation on their sheep herds introduced gelded male llamas. The experiment worked as the llamas’ instinct as a pack animal led them to bond with the new herd. As a result, they would boldly chase off coyotes and feral dogs before they harmed the herd.
    • Want to know how mad a llama is at you? Look at the spit. A llama will pull more and more material out of their three stomachs to spit at you depending on how agitated they are.

Status In The Wild

Llamas have been domesticated for so long that they can no longer be found in the wild. They are bred en-masse and serve humans in different ways around the globe. The parent species of the llama, the guanaco, and their wild cousins, the vicuna, both still roam the Andes as wild animals, thriving in their natural habitat despite their population being nearly wiped out by Spanish hunters in the age of exploration.

Waystation Residents

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