Scientific name: Lama glama
The Llama is a South American member of the camel family. Llamas originated in the Andes Mountains and were used as pack animals and sources of meat and fiber by the Incas and other natives.
In the last two to three decades, the Llama and its cousin the Alpaca have become common pets, companions, and wilderness packing animals mainly because of their calm temperaments, intelligence, and ease of maintenance. Since 1999, the Miniature Llama, a registered adult Llama that is no more than 38 inches at the withers, has been promoted as a more pet-appropriate animal.
Appearance / health:
Llamas grow to an average of 5.5 ft. tall. Body colors range from white to brown, gray, or black, with patterns oftentimes piebald (spotted black and white). The fur is long, soft, wooly, and lanolin-free. The tail is short and the ears are long and curved inward (banana-shaped).
Compared to alpacas, llamas are larger with longer heads. Unlike the alpaca, the llama has no eyelashes. Compared to the camel, the llama has no dorsal hump. The feet are long and narrow; instead of hooves, the llama has two toes that are separated and with thick and leathery plantar pads that give them good foothold on uneven and rocky ground.
Llamas are typically hardy and disease-resistant, requiring less feed compared to horses of the same size. Their natural resilience against extreme cold, wind, and snow can be attributed to the thick wool that covers the back, neck, and sides. They are also able to withstand head because of the short wool in other parts of the body.
Behavior / temperament:
Llamas are highly territorial. Males will spit and fight each other aggressively and noisily to gain dominance. Females usually settle by spitting but males are more physical, especially against intruding males, often biting and kicking, until the issue is settled. Because of their intelligence and natural tendencies to protect their herd, they can be trained to be guard animals for herds of alpacas, goats, sheep, and other livestock.
Housing / diet:
Llamas are best kept in secure farm conditions that keep them safe from natural predators like lions, leopards, and cougars. Sheds will protect them from extreme and harsh weather conditions. Water should always be available although llamas are known to last several days without drinking.
Llamas are herbivores, eating foliage including shrubs, grass, lichens, alfalfa hay, bromegrass hay, and corn silage. For optimum health and growth, llamas should be given commercial supplements and nutrients necessary for their size as well as the climate and the intensity and type of work they perform. Free-choice feeding is not recommended because left on their own, llamas will eat often and become fat.
pack animals, versatile animal, fabulous fiber, master guardian llama, guard llama, hiking
berserk llama syndrome, loud screaming sound, toenail clipping, kicking, spitting, warmer climates
autistic granddaughter, obstacle training, great weedeaters, agility courses, community dung pile
The Other "Dolly" Llama
I was very surprised when my parents came home with Dolly. She was a buttercup color, beautiful long coat, but crazy as all get out! She had been ostracized from her pack, and was a stranger to human contact.
It took about 6 months of sitting, and talking with her for her to finally be comfortable with getting close enough to touch. It took another 6-8 months to halter break her (and make sure she didn't run once we left for the open pasture. If you met her today, you wouldn't have ever thought that she was so skiddish. She loves people, men with strong colognes especially. I have showed her at county and state fairs, and she even cooperated to carry small toddlers for a ride at our local petting zoo.
One thing I learned early was they need to be shaved down in the summer - especially if they will be in a place that is vacant of shade. When trimming her coat, we found out the hard way that you shouldn't trim their tail. This keeps bugs and flies away from their rear-end.
Dolly was a wonderful guardian of our sheep, and she fit very well with our family. Though there was a lot more training involved with her, she was worth it.
I recommend that if you are thinking about getting a llama, family pet or show animal, please get a companion. Even though she was in with our sheep, she was still very lonely, and that is why she has gone to live on an all llama farm. She is much happier and has a few kids of her own..
From srosebeam Nov 21 2014 1:11PM
We had three llamas over the years, just to keep primarily as farm pets. We did do some backpacking with the llamas early on, and for this they were very skilled companions and work animals. Llamas can be a little difficult to work with, as they do not develop much of an interest in pleasing people as other livestock will (like horses for example). They are less friendly, and will often require work to catch and handle. Of course, once caught and haltered, they can be relatively cooperative. Buster, the llama that I worked with most often, was fairly amicable once on harness and lead, and he would even follow well through an obstacle course. Llamas, being livestock, do require ample space, plenty of hay and water, and shelter from the worst elements (though they are very durable and will withstand pretty awful weather just fine). Llamas are a fine addition for anyone with room for livestock-- they do make good "guard animals" for flocks of sheep. Additionally, many people enjoy working with the wool-- something we never did, as it does require quite a bit of labor to clean and prepare for spinning. These are versatile, hearty animals that can be a pleasure to work with, given the proper amount of effort..
From beckysage Sep 11 2014 1:12PM
Llamas, they're either nice or they have an ego complex!
So, again, I lived within the unhealthy atmosphere of an intentional community, which had 20 llamas, 20 goats, 10+ rabbits, chickens, 2 alpacas, an abundance of cats...all freely roaming as they pleased...and my three wolf-hybrids and cat in tow!
It was not a farm, per se; although, it was a hippie homestead scenario.
Regardless, the llamas were quite temperamental; there was a hierarchy within the group, as well as social 'clicks'. The interactions the llamas had with each other mirrored the interactions humans have with each other - it was actually quite strange.
Llamas are highly attuned creatures! When there is a new energy within their territory, they perk their ears, steady their stance, become robust, and hold their ground - they are like the warriors of Mother Nature.
One of the llamas whom was really mean and aggressive would snarl like Billy Idol when threats were plausible; the llama always had an issue with something. He also didn't like man's masculine presence. Also, he was quite dirty in his appearance and had dingle-berries hanging from his ass all the time.
The loveliest llama was a 4H. He was like a big teddy bear!!! Super buff, beautiful plush hair and always in solitude. The 4H was constantly on the outskirts like a loner; although, he was respected with the group. I liked him the best. His temperament was mellow, refreshing and fluid.
The land had a living fence made of blackberry bushes, and the dried cane would become entangled in the llama's hair, which was unfortunate; I tried to pull them out, but the llamas didn't care for such close proximity..
From gpehk Oct 21 2015 2:05AM