A little history about
originated on the central plains of North America
and spent their first 40 million
years grazing our grasslands. Then, some three million years ago,
camels migrated to Asia and Africa, while llama-like animals
dispersed to South America. Just 10,000 to
12,000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age, the camelids
became extinct in North America. Meanwhile, in the
highlands of Bolivia and Peru some 4,000 to 5,000 years ago, llamas
were domesticated, placing them among the oldest domestic animals in
the world. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that private animal
collectors and zoos reintroduced the camelids back to their original
North American homeland.
are highly social animals and
need the companionship of another llama or other grazing livestock.
When they come into contact with humans they like to be touched on
their necks and backs.
their moods with a series of tail, body and ear postures, and
vocalizations. Humming is a common manner of communication between
llamas, and indicates a variety of moods from contentedness to
aggression. Another interesting llama expression is the
shrill, rhythmic alarm call emitted at the sight of a strange animal
or a frightening situation.
Because of their
elegant wool and graceful posture llamas have a striking beauty
unlike any other hoofed creature in the world. Their wool
ranges from white to black, with shades of gray, brown, red and roan
in between. Markings can be a variety of patterns from
solid to spotted.
Llamas have a lifespan
of 15 to 25 years. Their average weight is between 280 and 350
pounds, but a large male can sometimes weigh up to 500
pounds. Males tend to be slightly larger than females.