Who isn’t fascinated by the llama? This is a unique animal and we can’t help to find the 10 cool things about him.
- Hippie looks
The llama is related to the camel, and can also go for days without water, but doesn’t have a hump on his back. The head of a llama is very similar to a camel’s, but the llama’s curly coat gives him a hippie look. But it’s not only his long coat that gives him this look – his overall appearance and temperament add to this image.
2. Warm jerseys
Talk about a long coat. This domesticated animal is dressed for any climate – from freezing night temperatures to hot desert days. Just like a sheep, the llama is sheared, but only once every two years. The fleece is woven into yarn to make clothes and rugs. So, in essence, he shares his coat with people to keep us warm too.
3. No drama llama
This animal is generally pretty chilled and doesn’t have too many hang-ups. He has a calm temperament and tolerates people. It is most probably this laid-back attitude that makes him so popular… people have pictures of llamas on their pyjamas, mugs, slippers… you name it – people love llamas!
To communicate with each other, llamas either hum in a variety of tones, or occasionally make a shrieking sound. They also communicate with each other by using their ears and their body language, and especially their tails.
5. Spitting llama
The llama is known for spitting, but he only does this to communicate with his herd mates, and hardly ever spits at humans, unless he is really annoyed. He is quite good at it and can spit as fast as he can run – an amazing 64km/h. He draws the spit from one of his three stomachs. And apparently, the more agitated he is, the faster he spits.
6. Very vegetarian
This animal is a herbivore, meaning that he only eats plants. When he is out in the wild, the llama will eat native shrubs and tree foliage, but his staple diet consists of grass and hay. He eats 2-4% of his body weight in hay every day. Just like a cow, the llama also regurgitates his food, and rechews it, before swallowing it again.
Not only is the llama a calm animal, he is also very intelligent and can be trained. People have trained llamas to do tricks, be therapy animals and even to be guard animals. Just look into his eyes, and you will realise there is much more going on in his mind than chewing, spitting and lying around. It is said that llamas also mourn the loss of fellow herd members.
8. Let me carry it
The Andean nations domesticated llamas many centuries ago – an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 years ago – and have been using them as pack animals ever since. This strong animal can carry 25-30% of his own body weight. (He weighs between 130 and 200kg.) But he won’t allow anybody to abuse him – if the weight is too heavy for him to carry, he will simply lie down, or even hiss and spit to communicate his annoyance.
9. Geared for hiking
The llama comes from South America and is totally geared to navigate the rocky surfaces of the Andes mountains. Each foot has two toes, which each have a toenail and a pad. The structure of his foot helps him to be sure-footed.
10. Hola, amigo
This friendly animal is very sociable and needs to be with his herd. Luckily, he doesn’t mind living with other herd animals, like sheep, and will befriend them too. The llama herd has a social structure that can change often. A male llama can work his way up the social ladder by fighting, kicking and biting.