Let’s face it llamas are adorably cute! Throughout history, these sure-footed hiking companions have been used for trekking goods in the Andes Mountains, and today they seem to be appearing everywhere… but what do you know about them? Keep on reading to learn 30 facts about Llamas.
Fact 1: The llama is the South American cousin of the camel.
- It’s widely used as a meat and pack animal by Andean cultures has been since the Pre-Columbian era.
Fact 2: An adult llama stands at an average height of 1.7 to 1.8 meters.
- It can also weigh around 130-200 kilograms.
Fact 3: A baby llama is called a “Cria”.
- It weighs between 9 and 14 kilograms at birth.
Fact 4: The name “llama” was adopted by European settlers from native Peruvians.
- Llamas typically live for 15 to 25 years, with some individuals surviving 30 years or more.
Fact 5: The Llama is a member of the camelid family.
- Camelids first appeared on the Central Plains of North America 40 million years ago, and it was around 3 million years ago when they made their way to South America.
Fact 6: Llamas are used as pack animals in the Peruvian highlands.
- They were domesticated around 4,000 to 5,000 years ago.
Fact 7: Llamas are strong animals that can carry about a quarter of their own body weight.
- So, a 400-pound male llama can carry about 100 pounds on a 10 to 12-mile trek, without any problems.
Fact 8: During the Great American Interchange around 3 million years ago, Camelids migrated to South America.
- By the end of the last ice age, roughly 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, camelids were extinct in North America.
Fact 9: In 2007, over 7 million llamas and alpacas were found in South America alone.
- Consequently, importation of llamas in the United States and Canada has increased the llama and alpaca population in North America to 100,000.
Fact 10: Llamas are very aware of their limits.
- In fact, a llama will refuse to move, or will simply lie down, if you overload it with too much weight.
Fact 11: Llama fleece has been an important commodity in the Andes Mountains for over 6,000 years.
- Llama wool is light, warm, and water-repellent, making it the perfect type of textile to have in the mountains.
Fact 12: Llamas have three stomach compartments: the rumen, omasum, and abomasum.
- Cows, on the other hand, have four stomach compartments.
Fact 13: Llama poop does not stink.
- Due to its odourless nature, llama manure or “llama beans” are used as eco-friendly fertilizer’s by llama farmers. Moreover, the Incas in Peru used llama poop as fuel by burning dried llama manure.
Fact 14: Female llamas can only carry one baby at a time.
- Twin cria births are not only rare but are also dangerous.
Fact 15: Llama pregnancies typically last for 350 days.
- When they give birth they do it standing up.
Fact 16: Unlike the tame llama, their cousins the Vicuña and the guanaco remain undomesticated.
- The Vicuña is the national symbol of Peru and resembles the Alpaca in its small and deer-like frame. The other wild camelid resident in Latin America is the slender Guanaco which is closer in appearance to a llama, growing to approximately four foot.
Fact 17: Llama yarns are incredibly warm, soft and lightweight.
- In fact, Alpaca and llama fleece are classified as speciality or luxury fibres.
Fact 18: Llamas are relatively larger than alpacas and are less fluffy.
- Alpacas also have short, pointy ears while llamas have longer ears that stand up, giving them a more alert look.
Fact 19: A group of llamas is called a “herd”.
- Llamas are social animals and prefer to live with other llamas or herd animals.
Fact 20: A llama’s body is covered in thick wool like sheep.
- Llama wool can be black, grey, white, brown, or appear with a variety of patterns.
Fact 21: During mating season, sexually aroused male llamas make a distinct mating sound called an “orgle” that lasts for 15 minutes to 1 hour.
- The sound is reminiscent of gargling, but with a more forceful, buzzing edge.
Fact 22: Llamas can be identified into two groups based on the length of their fur.
- Short coated llamas are called ‘Ccara’, and the medium coated are called the ‘Curaca’.
Fact 23: Llamas also have an excellent sense of hearing, eyesight and smell.
- Plus, they can run up to 56 kilometres per hour.
Fact 24: Llamas communicate through their body language.
- It could be through a variety of tail, ear, and body postures. They also have different types of vocalizations like the soft hums and an extremely shrill alarm call that they use to alert others of danger.
Fact 25: Llamas are herbivores that mainly consume hay, grass, grain, bark and twigs.
- Their favourite treats are apples and carrots.
Fact 26: Female llamas usually give birth between 8 am and noon, when it’s warm and bright.
- This is to increase baby llama survival against hypothermia in the cold Andean mountains.
Fact 27: Mountain lions and wild dogs tend to prey on llamas in the Andes mountains.
- Upon spotting a predator, a male llama alerts the herd by letting out a shrill cry.
Fact 28: In the Andean mountains, Llamas contribute more to the community than just transportation.
- Leather is made from their hides, and their wool is crafted into ropes, rugs, and fabrics.
Fact 29: As a totem, llamas symbolise strength, hard work, responsibility, and endurance.
- People born under the llama sign are people who know exactly what their goal in life is. You won’t see them backing down from anything they set their minds too, as that is the only way they know.
Fact 30: During the Spanish conquest, llamas were used to bring down ore from mines in the mountains.
- As many as 300,000 llamas were employed and used as transport.