20 Fun Facts About Llamas

Llamas are peaceful natured hardy animals.

People love llamas because they make great companions and farm animals, they are excellent guard animals and have very soft and highly valuable fur.

It seems that nowadays no matter where you look, you’ll find pictures of llamas.

Here are a few interesting and weird facts about llamas you need to know.


llamas are native to South America.
More specifically, they come from a region of Peru and Bolivia in the Andes, where the Inca Empire reigned.

Llamas are members of the camelid family meaning they're pretty closely related to vicuñas and camels.

Llamas come in a range of solid and spotted colors including black, gray, beige, brown, red, and white.

A group of llamas is called a herd.

A baby llama is called a "cria" which is Spanish for baby. It's pronounced KREE-uh.
Baby alpacas, vicuñas, and guanacos are also called crias.
Mama llamas usually only have one baby at a time and llama twins are incredibly rare.
Pregnancy lasts for about 350 days, nearly a full year.
Crias weigh 20 to 35 pounds at birth.

Llamas weigh an average of 280 to 450 pounds. Adult llamas eat 2-4% of their body weight a day, which can be anywhere between 5 to 18 pounds a day.

Llamas can grow as much as 6 feet tall though the average llama between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 9 inches tall.

Llamas live to be about 20 years old. Though some only live for 15 years and others live to be 30 years old.

Llamas are vegetarians and have very efficient digestive systems.
A llama's stomach has three compartments. They are called the rumen, omasum, and abomasum. A cow's stomach has four compartments. Like cows, llamas must regurgitate and re-chew their food to digest it completely.

Llamas were in the US long before humans were.
These pre-historic llamas were called Hemiauchenia, and it was from this species that all modern llama-like animals such as llamas and alpacas are descended.

During the last ice age (10,000-12,000 years ago) camelids went extinct in North America. Now there are around 160,000 llamas and 100,000 alpacas in the United States and Canada.

Llamas do not live in the wild, they are domesticated animals.
The people of the Andes long ago tamed llamas and used them to carry goods for them.
For distances up to 20 miles (32 km) they can carry up to 75 pounds (34 kg) but will generally lie down and spit at you if you try to push them any more than that.

Llamas can spit distances of more than 15 feet (4.5 m)!
While llamas don't always spit, it's a clear sign that they are annoyed at something or someone.
The more agitated the llama is, the more undigested stomach gunk it mixes in with its spit.

Llamas speak to each other by humming.
One of the ways they communicate is to hum to each other in a range of tones, all with seemingly different meanings.

Llamas are much more friendly than alpacas.
While llamas are much more sociable animals, alpacas tend to dislike close contact with people and stay away in herds.

Llama poop has almost no odor. Llama farmers refer to llama manure as "llama beans." It makes for a great, eco-friendly fertilizer. Historically, the Incas in Peru burned dried llama poop for fuel.

Llamas have their very own form of the pecking order in which males are constantly jostling for higher positions.
The main way in which llamas can do anything about their social status is by picking fights with each other.
When two llamas get into a fight there's generally a lot of spitting, kicking, and they even wrestle each other with their necks.
Females don't usually have anything to do with this though, and just spit at other llamas to try and control them.

Llamas have been used as guard animals for livestock like sheep or even alpacas in North America since the '80s. They require almost no training to be an effective guard.

Trying to tell the difference between a llama and an alpaca? Two obvious things to look for: Llamas are generally about twice the size of alpacas, and alpacas have short, pointy ears, whereas llamas have much longer ears that stand straight up and give them an alert look.

In parts of the US, you can find therapy llamas working in nursing homes and schools where they comfort the residents and patients.
But llama therapy is certainly not for everyone. While llamas are gentle creatures that seldom spit at humans, some people find their large stature intimidating or get spooked at seeing livestock indoors.

Even today, llamas have seen their popularity increase.

MNN / Tripsavvy / Wikipedia - Llama / Camelidae / ThoughtCo