11 Fascinating Facts About Llamas

When a llama is angry or irritated, make sure to stay at a safe distance because they can spit at you from over 15 feet away!

It seems like llamas have taken over the world as they can be found everywhere, from t-shirts to tote bags with catchy phrases like “no probllama”. Llama super fans even hire them for their weddings!

So, what makes llamas so lovable? Let’s take a look at some likable llama facts and find out!

Llamas and Camels are from the Same Family

Llamas and camels are both part of the Camelidae family, making them distant cousins.

Interestingly, none of their relatives still live in the region where they originated from in North America. The family split apart around 2-3 million years ago and migrated to their current locations.

Prehistoric Llamas Roamed the US

The Hemiauchenia, an extinct species closely related to llamas, were much larger than modern llamas, growing taller than the average human male. They roamed across the southern region of the modern-day US for thousands of years before going extinct approximately 25,000 years ago.

Llamas are Native to South America

The llamas we know and love today are native to a region of Peru and Bolivia in the Andes, where the Inca Empire reigned. While their ancestors came across Panama millions of years ago, they quickly evolved into the smaller and cuter animals we know today.

Llamas are Domesticated Animals

Contrary to popular belief, llamas are not wild animals. They are pack animals that were domesticated by the people of the Andes long ago to carry goods for them. While they can be found in the wild, they are no longer wild animals.

For distances up to 20 miles (32 km), llamas can carry up to 75 pounds (34 kg), but they will lie down and spit if you try to push them any more than that.

Llamas have an impressive spitting ability!

Although not all llamas spit, it is a clear indication that they are annoyed by something or someone. They can spit distances of over 15 feet (4.5 m), so it’s best not to irritate them. Llamas also use body language, such as sticking their tongues out, to communicate with other llamas before they resort to spitting. When they spit, the more agitated they are, the more undigested stomach contents they mix into their saliva, making it even more unpleasant.

Llamas communicate by humming.

Llamas are highly social animals and use a range of humming tones to communicate with each other. Mother llamas hum to their babies, and llamas hum when they are stressed, bored, sleepy, or interested in something. However, male llamas make a different sound called orgling, which they use during mating.

Llamas are friendlier than alpacas.

Llamas are more sociable than alpacas and are often compared to dogs in terms of their friendliness. Alpacas, on the other hand, tend to avoid close contact with people and prefer to stay in herds. If you were to compare alpacas to another animal, it would be more like a sheep.

Llama poop is useful.

Llama poop has been vital for Andean cultures, providing fuel for fires and fertilizer for crops. It has almost no odor and is called “llama beans” by llama farmers. Without llamas, life in the harsh winter conditions of the Andes would have been much harder.

Llamas have a pecking order.

Male llamas are always competing for higher positions in the pecking order. Higher-ranked llamas will spit at lower-ranked llamas to show dominance. This behavior may seem unpleasant, but it is a natural part of their social structure.

Llamas mainly rely on fighting each other to improve their social status, and these fights can be quite a spectacle with lots of spitting, kicking, and neck-wrestling. However, females usually only spit at other llamas to control them and don’t engage in fights.

In recent years, llamas have taken on different roles besides being pack animals. They have become popular guard animals for sheep and alpaca farmers in the US, particularly in areas with large predators. A single llama is preferred as it is more likely to bond with the herd and protect them.

Llamas have also become therapy animals in some parts of the US, providing comfort to residents and patients in nursing homes and schools. However, they require extensive training to ensure that they behave appropriately and don’t spit at people.

In summary, llamas are fascinating animals with unique abilities and roles in different settings.


1. What are llamas?

Llamas are members of the camelid family which includes camels, alpacas, guanacos, and vicunas. They are native to South America and are primarily used as pack animals for trekking through difficult terrain.

2. How long do llamas live?

Llamas can live up to 20 years in captivity. In the wild, their lifespan is usually shorter due to predators and environmental factors.

3. What do llamas eat?

Llamas are herbivores and primarily graze on grass, hay, and other vegetation. They have a three-chambered stomach which allows them to efficiently digest tough plant fibers.

4. Can llamas be trained?

Yes, llamas can be trained to carry packs, participate in shows, and even perform tricks. They are intelligent animals and can be responsive to positive reinforcement training methods.

5. Do llamas spit?

Yes, llamas can spit as a defense mechanism when they feel threatened or annoyed. However, they usually reserve this behavior for other llamas and rarely spit at humans.

6. Are llamas good pets?

Llamas can make good pets for those who have the space and resources to care for them properly. However, they require a lot of attention and specialized care, so it’s important to do research and consider all factors before getting a llama as a pet.

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