Llama
Overview
The llama is a South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

n camelid
Camelid
Camelids are members of the biological family Camelidae, the only living family in the suborder Tylopoda. Dromedaries, Bactrian Camels, llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, and guanacos are in this group....

, widely used as a meat and pack animal
Pack animal
A pack animal or beast of burden is a working animal used by humans as means of transporting materials by attaching them so their weight bears on the animal's back; the term may be applied to either an individual animal or a species so employed...

 by Andean culture
Andean culture
Andean culture is a collective term used to refer to the indigenous cultures of the Andes mountains especially those that came under the influence of the Inca empire...

s since pre-Hispanic times.

The height of a full-grown, full-size llama is 1.7 to 1.8 m (5.5 to 6.0 ft) tall at the top of the head, and can weigh between 130 to 200 kilograms (280 to 450 lb). At birth, a baby llama
Cria
A cria is the name for a baby camelid such as a llama, alpaca, vicuña, or guanaco. It comes from the Spanish word cría, meaning "baby". Its false cognate in English, crya , was coined by British sailors who explored Chile in the 18th century and were quick to describe the camelids onomatopoeically...

 (called a cria) can weigh between 9 and 14 kilograms (20 and 30 lb).
Encyclopedia
The llama is a South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

n camelid
Camelid
Camelids are members of the biological family Camelidae, the only living family in the suborder Tylopoda. Dromedaries, Bactrian Camels, llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, and guanacos are in this group....

, widely used as a meat and pack animal
Pack animal
A pack animal or beast of burden is a working animal used by humans as means of transporting materials by attaching them so their weight bears on the animal's back; the term may be applied to either an individual animal or a species so employed...

 by Andean culture
Andean culture
Andean culture is a collective term used to refer to the indigenous cultures of the Andes mountains especially those that came under the influence of the Inca empire...

s since pre-Hispanic times.

The height of a full-grown, full-size llama is 1.7 to 1.8 m (5.5 to 6.0 ft) tall at the top of the head, and can weigh between 130 to 200 kilograms (280 to 450 lb). At birth, a baby llama
Cria
A cria is the name for a baby camelid such as a llama, alpaca, vicuña, or guanaco. It comes from the Spanish word cría, meaning "baby". Its false cognate in English, crya , was coined by British sailors who explored Chile in the 18th century and were quick to describe the camelids onomatopoeically...

 (called a cria) can weigh between 9 and 14 kilograms (20 and 30 lb). Llamas can live for a period of about 20-30 years depending on how well they are taken care of. Llamas are very social animals and live with other llamas as a herd
Herd
Herd refers to a social grouping of certain animals of the same species, either wild or domestic, and also to the form of collective animal behavior associated with this or as a verb, to herd, to its control by another species such as humans or dogs.The term herd is generally applied to mammals,...

. The wool produced by a llama is very soft and lanolin
Lanolin
Lanolin , also called Adeps Lanae, wool wax or wool grease, is a yellow waxy substance secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals. Most lanolin used by humans comes from domestic sheep...

-free. Llamas are intelligent and can learn simple tasks after a few repetitions. When using a pack
Backpack
A backpack is, in its simplest form, a cloth sack carried on one's back and secured with two straps that go over the shoulders, but there can be exceptions...

, llamas can carry about 25% to 30% of their body weight for several mile
Mile
A mile is a unit of length, most commonly 5,280 feet . The mile of 5,280 feet is sometimes called the statute mile or land mile to distinguish it from the nautical mile...

s.

Llamas appear to have originated from the central plains of North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 about 40 million year
Year
A year is the orbital period of the Earth moving around the Sun. For an observer on Earth, this corresponds to the period it takes the Sun to complete one course throughout the zodiac along the ecliptic....

s ago. They migrated to South America about 3 million years ago. By the end of the last ice age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

 (10,000–12,000 years ago), camelids were extinct in North America. As of 2007, there were over 7 million llamas and alpaca
Alpaca
An alpaca is a domesticated species of South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in appearance.Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador, and northern Chile at an altitude of to above sea level, throughout the year...

s in South America and, due to importation from South America in the late 20th century, there are now over 158,000 llamas and 100,000 alpacas in the US
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

.

Classification

Although early writers compared llamas to sheep, their similarity to the camel was soon recognized. They were included in the genus Camelus along with alpaca
Alpaca
An alpaca is a domesticated species of South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in appearance.Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador, and northern Chile at an altitude of to above sea level, throughout the year...

 in the Systema Naturae (1758) of Linnaeus
Carolus Linnaeus
Carl Linnaeus , also known after his ennoblement as , was a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of binomial nomenclature. He is known as the father of modern taxonomy, and is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology...

. They were, however, separated by Cuvier
Georges Cuvier
Georges Chrétien Léopold Dagobert Cuvier or Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric Cuvier , known as Georges Cuvier, was a French naturalist and zoologist...

 in 1800 under the name of llama along with the guanaco. Alpaca
Alpaca
An alpaca is a domesticated species of South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in appearance.Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador, and northern Chile at an altitude of to above sea level, throughout the year...

s and vicuña
Vicuña
The vicuña or vicugna is one of two wild South American camelids, along with the guanaco, which live in the high alpine areas of the Andes. It is a relative of the llama, and is now believed to share a wild ancestor with domesticated alpacas, which are raised for their fibre...

s are in genus Vicugna. The genera Lama and Vicugna are, with the two species of true camels, the sole existing representatives of a very distinct section of the Artiodactyla or even-toed ungulates, called Tylopoda
Tylopoda
Tylopoda is a suborder of terrestrial herbivorous even-toed ungulates belonging to Artiodactyla. They are extant in the wild in their native ranges of South America and Asia, while Australian feral camels are an introduced species. The group has a long fossil history in North America and Europe...

, or "bump-footed", from the peculiar bumps on the soles of their feet. The Tylopoda consists of a single family, the Camelidae, and shares the order
Taxon
|thumb|270px|[[African elephants]] form a widely-accepted taxon, the [[genus]] LoxodontaA taxon is a group of organisms, which a taxonomist adjudges to be a unit. Usually a taxon is given a name and a rank, although neither is a requirement...

 Artiodactyla with the Suina
Suina
The suborder Suina are lineage of mammals that today includes the families Suidae and Tayassuidae and their fossil kin.- Classification :The suborder Suina includes Suidae and Tayassuidae...

 (pig
Pig
A pig is any of the animals in the genus Sus, within the Suidae family of even-toed ungulates. Pigs include the domestic pig, its ancestor the wild boar, and several other wild relatives...

s), the Tragulina (chevrotain
Chevrotain
Chevrotains, also known as mouse deer, are small ungulates that make up the family Tragulidae, the only members of the infraorder Tragulina. There are 10 living species in three genera, but there are also several species only known from fossils...

s), the Pecora
Pecora
The Pecora is a group of hoofed mammals that comprises most of the ruminants, including cattle, sheep, goats, antelopes,deer, giraffes, and pronghorn. The only extant members of the Ruminantia that are not pecorans are the chevrotains, which lack horns and whose four-chambered stomach is less...

 (ruminant
Ruminant
A ruminant is a mammal of the order Artiodactyla that digests plant-based food by initially softening it within the animal's first compartment of the stomach, principally through bacterial actions, then regurgitating the semi-digested mass, now known as cud, and chewing it again...

s), and the Cetancodonta (hippos
Hippopotamidae
Hippopotamuses are the members of the family Hippopotamidae. They are the only extant artiodactyls which walk on four toes on each foot.- Characteristics :...

 and cetacea
Cetacea
The order Cetacea includes the marine mammals commonly known as whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Cetus is Latin and is used in biological names to mean "whale"; its original meaning, "large sea animal", was more general. It comes from Ancient Greek , meaning "whale" or "any huge fish or sea...

ns, which belong to Artiodactyla from a cladistic
Cladistics
Cladistics is a method of classifying species of organisms into groups called clades, which consist of an ancestor organism and all its descendants . For example, birds, dinosaurs, crocodiles, and all descendants of their most recent common ancestor form a clade...

, if not traditional, standpoint). The Tylopoda have more or less affinity to each of the sister taxa
Taxon
|thumb|270px|[[African elephants]] form a widely-accepted taxon, the [[genus]] LoxodontaA taxon is a group of organisms, which a taxonomist adjudges to be a unit. Usually a taxon is given a name and a rank, although neither is a requirement...

, standing in some respects in a middle position between them, sharing some characteristics from each, but in others showing special modifications not found in any of the other taxa.
The 19th century discoveries of a vast and previously unexpected extinct Tertiary
Tertiary
The Tertiary is a deprecated term for a geologic period 65 million to 2.6 million years ago. The Tertiary covered the time span between the superseded Secondary period and the Quaternary...

 fauna of North America, as interpreted by paleontologists Leidy
Joseph Leidy
Joseph Leidy was an American paleontologist.Leidy was professor of anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania, and later was a professor of natural history at Swarthmore College. His book Extinct Fauna of Dakota and Nebraska contained many species not previously described and many previously...

, Cope
Edward Drinker Cope
Edward Drinker Cope was an American paleontologist and comparative anatomist, as well as a noted herpetologist and ichthyologist. Born to a wealthy Quaker family, Cope distinguished himself as a child prodigy interested in science; he published his first scientific paper at the age of nineteen...

, and Marsh
Othniel Charles Marsh
Othniel Charles Marsh was an American paleontologist. Marsh was one of the preeminent scientists in the field; the discovery or description of dozens of news species and theories on the origins of birds are among his legacies.Born into a modest family, Marsh was able to afford higher education...

, aided understanding of the early history of this family. Llamas were not always confined to South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

; abundant llama-like remains were found in Pleistocene
Pleistocene
The Pleistocene is the epoch from 2,588,000 to 11,700 years BP that spans the world's recent period of repeated glaciations. The name pleistocene is derived from the Greek and ....

 deposits in the Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...

 and in Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

. Some of the fossil
Fossil
Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of animals , plants, and other organisms from the remote past...

 llamas were much larger than current forms. Some species remained in North America during the last ice ages. North American llamas are categorized as a single extinct genus, Hemiauchenia. Llama-like animals would have been a common sight 25,000 years ago, in modern-day California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

, Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

, Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

, and Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

.

The camelid lineage has a good fossil record. Camel-like animals have been traced from the thoroughly differentiated, modern species back through early Miocene
Miocene
The Miocene is a geological epoch of the Neogene Period and extends from about . The Miocene was named by Sir Charles Lyell. Its name comes from the Greek words and and means "less recent" because it has 18% fewer modern sea invertebrates than the Pliocene. The Miocene follows the Oligocene...

 forms. Their characteristics became more general, and they lost those that distinguished them as camelids; hence, they were classified as ancestral artiodactyls. No fossils of these earlier forms have been found in the Old World
Old World
The Old World consists of those parts of the world known to classical antiquity and the European Middle Ages. It is used in the context of, and contrast with, the "New World" ....

, indicating that North America was the original home of camelids, and that Old World camels crossed over via the Bering Land Bridge. The formation of the Isthmus of Panama
Isthmus of Panama
The Isthmus of Panama, also historically known as the Isthmus of Darien, is the narrow strip of land that lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, linking North and South America. It contains the country of Panama and the Panama Canal...

 three million years ago allowed camelids to spread to South America as part of the Great American Interchange
Great American Interchange
The Great American Interchange was an important paleozoogeographic event in which land and freshwater fauna migrated from North America via Central America to South America and vice versa, as the volcanic Isthmus of Panama rose up from the sea floor and bridged the formerly separated continents...

, where they evolved further. Meanwhile, North American camelids died out at the end of the Pleistocene
Quaternary extinction event
The Quaternary period saw the extinctions of numerous predominantly larger, especially megafaunal, species, many of which occurred during the transition from the Pleistocene to the Holocene epoch. However, the extinction wave did not stop at the end of the Pleistocene, but continued especially on...

.

Characteristics

The following characteristics apply especially to llamas. Dentition
Dentition
Dentition pertains to the development of teeth and their arrangement in the mouth. In particular, the characteristic arrangement, kind, and number of teeth in a given species at a given age...

 of adults:-incisors 1/3 canines 1/1, premolars 2/2, molars 3/2; total 32. In the upper jaw, a compressed, sharp, pointed laniariform incisor
Incisor
Incisors are the first kind of tooth in heterodont mammals. They are located in the premaxilla above and mandible below.-Function:...

 near the hinder edge of the premaxilla
Premaxilla
The incisive bone is the portion of the maxilla adjacent to the incisors. It is a pair of small cranial bones at the very tip of the jaws of many animals, usually bearing teeth, but not always. They are connected to the maxilla and the nasals....

 is followed in the male at least by a moderate-sized, pointed, curved true canine
Canine tooth
In mammalian oral anatomy, the canine teeth, also called cuspids, dogteeth, fangs, or eye teeth, are relatively long, pointed teeth...

 in the anterior part of the maxilla. The isolated canine-like premolar
Premolar
The premolar teeth or bicuspids are transitional teeth located between the canine and molar teeth. In humans, there are two premolars per quadrant, making eight premolars total in the mouth. They have at least two cusps. Premolars can be considered as a 'transitional tooth' during chewing, or...

 which follows in the camels is not present. The teeth of the molar series which are in contact with each other consist of two very small premolars (the first almost rudimentary) and three broad molars, constructed generally like those of Camelus. In the lower jaw, the three incisors are long, spatulate, and procumbent; the outer ones are the smallest. Next to these is a curved, suberect canine, followed after an interval by an isolated minute and often deciduous simple conical premolar; then a contiguous series of one premolar and three molars, which differ from those of Camelus in having a small accessory column at the anterior outer edge.
The skull generally resembles that of Camelus, the larger brain-cavity and orbits and less-developed cranial ridges being due to its smaller size. The nasal bones are shorter and broader, and are joined by the premaxilla.

Vertebrae:
  • cervical 7,
  • dorsal 12,
  • lumbar 7,
  • sacral 4,
  • caudal 15 to 20.


The ears are rather long and slightly curved inward, characteristically known as "banana" shaped. There is no dorsal hump. The feet are narrow, the toes being more separated than in the camels, each having a distinct plantar pad. The tail is short, and fibre is long, woolly and soft.

In essential structural characteristics, as well as in general appearance and habits, all the animals of this genus very closely resemble each other, so whether they should be considered as belonging to one, two, or more species is a matter of controversy among naturalists
Natural history
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...

.

The question is complicated by the circumstance of the great majority of individuals which have come under observation being either in a completely or partially domesticated state. Many are also descended from ancestors which have previously been domesticated, a state which tends to produce a certain amount of variation from the original type. The four forms commonly distinguished by the inhabitants of South America are recognized as distinct species, though with difficulties in defining their distinctive characteristics.

These are:
  • the llama, Lama glama (Linnaeus);
  • the alpaca
    Alpaca
    An alpaca is a domesticated species of South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in appearance.Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador, and northern Chile at an altitude of to above sea level, throughout the year...

    , Vicugna pacos (Linnaeus);
  • the guanaco (from the Quechua
    Quechua languages
    Quechua is a Native South American language family and dialect cluster spoken primarily in the Andes of South America, derived from an original common ancestor language, Proto-Quechua. It is the most widely spoken language family of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, with a total of probably...

     huanaco), Lama guanicoe (Müller
    Philipp Ludwig Statius Müller
    Philipp Ludwig Statius Muller was a German zoologist.Statius Muller was born in Esens, and was Professor of Natural Science at Erlangen. Between 1773 and 1776, he published a German translation of Linnaeus's Natursystem...

    ); and
  • the vicuña
    Vicuña
    The vicuña or vicugna is one of two wild South American camelids, along with the guanaco, which live in the high alpine areas of the Andes. It is a relative of the llama, and is now believed to share a wild ancestor with domesticated alpacas, which are raised for their fibre...

    , Vicugna vicugna (Molina
    Juan Ignacio Molina
    Fr. Juan Ignacio Molina was a Chilean Jesuit priest, naturalist, historian, botanist, ornithologist and geographer...

    )


The llama and alpaca are only known in the domestic state, and are variable in size and of many colors, being often white, brown, or piebald. Some are grey or black. The guanaco and vicuña are wild, the former being endangered, and of a nearly uniform light-brown color, passing into white below. They certainly differ from each other, the vicuña being smaller, more slender in its proportions, and having a shorter head than the guanaco. The vicuña lives in herd
Herd
Herd refers to a social grouping of certain animals of the same species, either wild or domestic, and also to the form of collective animal behavior associated with this or as a verb, to herd, to its control by another species such as humans or dogs.The term herd is generally applied to mammals,...

s on the bleak and elevated parts of the mountain range bordering the region of perpetual snow, amidst rocks and precipices, occurring in various suitable localities throughout Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

, in the southern part of Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

, and as far south as the middle of Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

. Its manners very much resemble those of the chamois
Chamois
The chamois, Rupicapra rupicapra, is a goat-antelope species native to mountains in Europe, including the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, the European Alps, the Tatra Mountains, the Balkans, parts of Turkey, and the Caucasus. The chamois has also been introduced to the South Island of New Zealand...

 of the European Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

; it is as vigilant, wild, and timid. The fiber is extremely delicate and soft, and highly valued for the purposes of weaving, but the quantity which each animal produces is minimal.
Alpacas are descended from wild vicuna ancestors, while domesticated llamas are descended from wild guanaco ancestors, though a considerable amount of hybridization between the two species has occurred.

Differential characteristics between llamas and alpacas include the llama's larger size and longer head. Alpaca fiber is generally more expensive, but not always more valuable. Alpacas tend to have a more consistent color throughout the body. The most apparent visual difference between llamas and camel
Camel
A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as humps on its back. There are two species of camels: the dromedary or Arabian camel has a single hump, and the bactrian has two humps. Dromedaries are native to the dry desert areas of West Asia,...

s is that camels have a hump or humps and llamas do not.

Reproduction

Llamas have an unusual reproductive cycle for a large animal. Female llamas are induced ovulators. Through the act of mating, the female releases an egg and is often fertilized on the first attempt. Female llamas do not go into estrus ("heat").

Like humans, llama males and females mature sexually at different rates. Females reach puberty at approximately 12 months old; males do not become sexually mature until approximately three years of age.

Mating

Llamas mate with the female in a kush (lying down) position, which is fairly unusual in a large animal. They mate for an extended period of time (20–45 minutes), also unusual in a large animal.

Gestation

The gestation period of a llama is 11½ months (350 days). Dams (female llamas) do not lick off their babies, as they have an attached tongue which does not reach outside of the mouth more than half an inch (0.5 inches (1.3 cm)). Rather, they will nuzzle and hum to their newborns.

Crias

A cria
Cria
A cria is the name for a baby camelid such as a llama, alpaca, vicuña, or guanaco. It comes from the Spanish word cría, meaning "baby". Its false cognate in English, crya , was coined by British sailors who explored Chile in the 18th century and were quick to describe the camelids onomatopoeically...

 (from Spanish for "baby") is the name for a baby llama, alpaca
Alpaca
An alpaca is a domesticated species of South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in appearance.Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador, and northern Chile at an altitude of to above sea level, throughout the year...

, vicuña
Vicuña
The vicuña or vicugna is one of two wild South American camelids, along with the guanaco, which live in the high alpine areas of the Andes. It is a relative of the llama, and is now believed to share a wild ancestor with domesticated alpacas, which are raised for their fibre...

, or guanaco. Crias are typically born with all the females of the herd gathering around, in an attempt to protect against the male llamas and potential predators. Llamas give birth standing. Birth is usually quick and problem-free, over in less than 30 minutes. Most births take place between 8 a.m. and noon, during the warmer daylight hours. This may increase cria survival by reducing fatalities due to hypothermia during cold Andean nights. This birthing pattern is speculated to be a continuation of the birthing patterns observed in the wild. Crias are up and standing, walking and attempting to suckle within the first hour after birth. Crias are partially fed with llama milk that is lower in fat and salt and higher in phosphorus and calcium than cow or goat milk. A female llama will only produce about 60 ml (5.40005400054001E-09 imp fl oz) of milk at a time when she gives milk, so the cria must suckle frequently to receive the nutrients it requires.

Breeding situations

In harem breeding, the male is left with females most of the year.

For field breeding, a female is turned out into a field with a male llama and left there for some period of time. This is the easiest method in terms of labor, but the least useful in terms of prediction of a likely birth date. An ultrasound test can be performed, and together with the exposure dates, a better idea of when the cria is expected can be determined.

Hand breeding is the most efficient method, but requires the most work on the part of the human involved. A male and female llama are put into the same pen and breeding is monitored. They are then separated and rebred every other day until one or the other refuses the breeding. Usually, one can get in two breedings using this method, though some studs have routinely refused to breed a female more than once. The separation presumably helps to keep the sperm count high for each breeding and also helps to keep the condition of the female llama's reproductive tract more sound. If the breeding is not successful within two to three weeks, the female is bred once again.

Pregnancy

Llamas should be tested for pregnancy after breeding at two to three, six and at least 12 weeks.
  1. For "spit" testing, bring the potentially pregnant dam to an intact male. If the stud attempts to mate with her and she lies down for him within a fairly short period of time, she is not pregnant. If she remains on her feet, spits, attacks him, or otherwise prevents his being able to mate, it is assumed she is probably pregnant. This test gets its name due to the dam spitting at the male if she is pregnant.
  2. For progesterone
    Progesterone
    Progesterone also known as P4 is a C-21 steroid hormone involved in the female menstrual cycle, pregnancy and embryogenesis of humans and other species...

     testing, a veterinarian can test a blood sample for progesterone. A high level can indicate a pregnancy.
  3. With palpation, the veterinarian or breeder manually feels inside the llama to detect a pregnancy. There are some risks to the llama, but it can be an accurate method for pregnancy detection.
  4. Ultrasound is the most accurate method for an experienced veterinarian, who can do an exterior examination and detect a fetus as early as 45 days.


Spit testing with an intact male is generally free and is usually accurate. However, some hormonal conditions in females can make them reject a male when they are in fact not pregnant, and, more rarely, accept a male when they are pregnant. Progesterone tests can give a high reading in some females with a hormonal problem which are in fact not pregnant. Neither of the previous methods, nor palpation, can give a reasonably accurate idea of the age of the fetus, while an ultrasound procedure can. In addition, an ultrasound procedure can distinguish between pregnancy and misleading physical conditions, or between a live and dead fetus. The disadvantages of an ultrasound procedure are cost, some training in the use of ultrasound equipment is required, and not all veterinarians have the equipment needed to perform the examination.

Nutrition

Options for feeding llamas are quite wide; a wide variety of commercial and farm-based feeds are available. The major determining factors include feed cost, availability, nutrient balance and energy density required. Young, actively growing llamas require a greater concentration of nutrients than mature animals because of their smaller digestive tract capacities.
Estimated daily requirements of bromgrass hay, alfalfa hay and corn silage on an as-fed and 100% dry matter basis for llamas from 22 to 550 pounds.
Body weight
(lb)
Bromgrass Alfalfa Corn silage
(as fed) (dry matter) (as fed) (dry matter) (as fed) (dry matter)
22 0.8 0.7 0.5 0.5 1.5 0.4
44 1.3 1.1 0.9 0.8 2.6 0.7
88 2.1 1.9 1.5 1.3 4.3 1.2
110 2.6 2.3 1.7 1.6 5.2 1.4
165 3.4 3.1 2.3 2.1 6.9 1.9
275 5.0 4.5 3.4 3.1 10.1 2.8
385 6.4 5.7 4.3 3.9 12.9 3.6
495 7.8 7.0 5.3 4.8 15.8 4.4
550 8.5 7.6 5.7 5.2 17.0 4.8

Behavior

Llamas which are well-socialized and trained to halter and lead after weaning are very friendly and pleasant to be around. They are extremely curious and most will approach people easily. However, llamas that are bottle-fed or over-socialized and over-handled as youngsters will become extremely difficult to handle when mature, when they will begin to treat humans as they treat each other, which is characterized by bouts of spitting, kicking and neck wrestling. Anyone having to bottle-feed a cria should keep contact to a minimum and stop as soon as possible.

When correctly reared, llamas spitting at a human is a rare thing. Llamas are very social herd animals, however, and do sometimes spit at each other as a way of disciplining lower-ranked llamas in the herd. A llama's social rank in a herd is never static. They can always move up or down in the social ladder by picking small fights. This is usually done between males to see which will become dominant. Their fights are visually dramatic, with spitting, ramming each other with their chests, neck wrestling and kicking, mainly to knock the other off balance. The females are usually only seen spitting as a means of controlling other herd members.

While the social structure might always be changing, they live as a family and they do take care of each other. If one notices a strange noise or feels threatened, a warning bray is sent out and all others come to alert. They will often hum to each other as a form of communication.

The sound of the llama making groaning noises or going "mwa" is often a sign of fear or anger. If a llama is agitated, it will lay its ears back. One may determine how agitated the llama is by the materials in the spit. The more irritated the llama is, the further back into each of the three stomach compartments it will try to draw materials from for its spit.

An "orgle" is the mating sound of a llama or alpaca, made by the sexually aroused male. The sound is reminiscent of gargling, but with a more forceful, buzzing edge. Males begin the sound when they become aroused and continue throughout the act of procreation—from 15 minutes to more than an hour.

Guard behavior

Using llamas as livestock guards in North America began in the early 1980s, and some sheep producers have used llamas successfully since then. They are used most commonly in the in western regions of the US, where larger predators, such as the coyote, are prevalent. Typically, a single gelding (castrated male) is used.

Research suggests the use of multiple guard llamas is not as effective as one. Multiple males tend to bond with one another, rather than with the livestock, and may ignore the flock. A gelded male of two years of age bonds closely with its new charges and is instinctively very effective in preventing predation. Some llamas appear to bond more quickly to sheep or goats if they are introduced just prior to lambing. Many sheep and goat producers indicate a special bond quickly develops between lambs and their guard llama and the llama is particularly protective of the lambs.

Using llamas as guards has eliminated the losses to predators for many producers. The value of the livestock saved each year more than exceeds the purchase cost and annual maintenance of a llama. Although not every llama is suited to the job, most are a viable, nonlethal alternative for reducing predation, requiring no training and little care.

History

Pre-Incan cultures

The Moche
Moche
'The Moche civilization flourished in northern Peru from about 100 AD to 800 AD, during the Regional Development Epoch. While this issue is the subject of some debate, many scholars contend that the Moche were not politically organized as a monolithic empire or state...

 people frequently placed llamas and llama parts in the burials of important people, as offerings or provisions for the afterlife. The Moche
Moche
'The Moche civilization flourished in northern Peru from about 100 AD to 800 AD, during the Regional Development Epoch. While this issue is the subject of some debate, many scholars contend that the Moche were not politically organized as a monolithic empire or state...

 culture of pre-Columbian
Pre-Columbian
The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during...

 Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 depicted llamas quite realistically in their ceramics.

Inca empire

In the Inca empire, llamas were the only beasts of burden, and many of the peoples dominated by the Inca had long traditions of llama herding. For the Inca nobility, the llama was of symbolic significance, and llama figures were often buried with the dead.
In South America, llamas are still used as beasts of burden, as well as for the production of fiber and meat
Meat
Meat is animal flesh that is used as food. Most often, this means the skeletal muscle and associated fat and other tissues, but it may also describe other edible tissues such as organs and offal...

.

The Inca deity Urcuchillay
Urcuchillay
Urcuchillay was the name given to Lyra by the Incas. Urcuchillay was worshipped by herders and believed to be a multicolored llama who watched over animals....

 was depicted in the form of a multicolored llama.

Scholar Alex Chepstow-Lusty has argued that the switch from a hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

 lifestyle to widespread agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 was only possible because of the use of llama dung
Feces
Feces, faeces, or fæces is a waste product from an animal's digestive tract expelled through the anus or cloaca during defecation.-Etymology:...

 as fertilizer
Fertilizer
Fertilizer is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. A recent assessment found that about 40 to 60% of crop yields are attributable to commercial fertilizer use...

.

Spanish empire

One of the main uses for llamas at the time of the Spanish conquest
Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire
The Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire was one of the most important campaigns in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. This historic process of military conquest was made by Spanish conquistadores and their native allies....

 was to bring down ore from the mines in the mountains. Gregory de Bolivar estimated that in his day, as many as 300 thousand were employed in the transport
Transport
Transport or transportation is the movement of people, cattle, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations...

 of produce from the Potosí
Potosí
Potosí is a city and the capital of the department of Potosí in Bolivia. It is one of the highest cities in the world by elevation at a nominal . and it was the location of the Spanish colonial mint, now the National Mint of Bolivia...

 mines alone, but since the introduction of horse
Horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

s, mule
Mule
A mule is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. Horses and donkeys are different species, with different numbers of chromosomes. Of the two F1 hybrids between these two species, a mule is easier to obtain than a hinny...

s, and donkey
Donkey
The donkey or ass, Equus africanus asinus, is a domesticated member of the Equidae or horse family. The wild ancestor of the donkey is the African Wild Ass, E...

s, the importance of the llama as a beast of burden has greatly diminished.

According to Juan Ignacio Molina
Juan Ignacio Molina
Fr. Juan Ignacio Molina was a Chilean Jesuit priest, naturalist, historian, botanist, ornithologist and geographer...

, the Dutch captain Joris van Spilbergen
Joris van Spilbergen
Joris van Spilbergen was a Dutch naval officer of the 17th century.His first major expedition was in 1596, when he sailed to Africa....

 observed the use of chiliquenes (a llama type) by native Mapuche
Mapuche
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended...

s of Mocha Island as plow animals
Plough
The plough or plow is a tool used in farming for initial cultivation of soil in preparation for sowing seed or planting. It has been a basic instrument for most of recorded history, and represents one of the major advances in agriculture...

 in 1614.

Fiber

Llamas have a fine undercoat which can be used for handicrafts and garments. The coarser outer guard hair is used for rugs, wall-hangings and lead ropes. The fiber comes in many different colors ranging from white or grey to reddish-brown, brown, dark brown and black.

Average diameter of some of the finest, natural fibers
Animal Fiber diameter
(micrometre
Micrometre
A micrometer , is by definition 1×10-6 of a meter .In plain English, it means one-millionth of a meter . Its unit symbol in the International System of Units is μm...

s)
Vicuña
Vicuña
The vicuña or vicugna is one of two wild South American camelids, along with the guanaco, which live in the high alpine areas of the Andes. It is a relative of the llama, and is now believed to share a wild ancestor with domesticated alpacas, which are raised for their fibre...

6–10
Alpaca
Alpaca fiber
Alpaca fleece is the natural fiber harvested from an alpaca. It is light or heavy in weight, depending on how it is spun. It is a soft, durable, luxurious and silky natural fiber. While similar to sheep’s wool, it is warmer, not prickly, and has no lanolin, which makes it hypoallergenic. Alpaca is...

 (Suri)
10–15
Muskox (Qivlut) 11–13
Merino
Merino
The Merino is an economically influential breed of sheep prized for its wool. Merinos are regarded as having some of the finest and softest wool of any sheep...

12–20
Angora Rabbit
Angora wool
Angora wool or Angora fibre refers to the downy coat produced by the Angora rabbit. While their names are similar, Angora fibre is distinct from mohair, which comes from the Angora goat. Angora is known for its softness, thin fibres, and what knitters refer to as a halo...

13
Cashmere
Cashmere wool
Cashmere wool, usually simply known as cashmere, is a fiber obtained from Cashmere and other types of goats. The word cashmere derives from an old spelling of Kashmir. Cashmere is fine in texture, and strong, light, and soft. Garments made from it provide excellent...

15–19
Yak
Yak
The yak, Bos grunniens or Bos mutus, is a long-haired bovine found throughout the Himalayan region of south Central Asia, the Tibetan Plateau and as far north as Mongolia and Russia. In addition to a large domestic population, there is a small, vulnerable wild yak population...

 Down
15–19
Camel
Camel
A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as humps on its back. There are two species of camels: the dromedary or Arabian camel has a single hump, and the bactrian has two humps. Dromedaries are native to the dry desert areas of West Asia,...

 Down
16–25
Guanaco 16–18
Llama (Tapada) 20–30
Chinchilla
Chinchilla
Chinchillas are crepuscular rodents, slightly larger and more robust than ground squirrels, and are native to the Andes mountains in South America. Along with their relatives, viscachas, they make up the family Chinchillidae....

21
Mohair
Mohair
Mohair usually refers to a silk-like fabric or yarn made from the hair of the Angora goat. The word "mohair" was adopted into English before 1570 from the Arabic: mukhayyar, a type of haircloth, literally 'choice', from khayyara, 'he chose'. Mohair fiber is approximately 25-45 microns in...

25–45
Alpaca
Alpaca fiber
Alpaca fleece is the natural fiber harvested from an alpaca. It is light or heavy in weight, depending on how it is spun. It is a soft, durable, luxurious and silky natural fiber. While similar to sheep’s wool, it is warmer, not prickly, and has no lanolin, which makes it hypoallergenic. Alpaca is...

 (Huacaya)
27.7
Llama (Ccara) 30–40

See also

  • Alpaca
    Alpaca
    An alpaca is a domesticated species of South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in appearance.Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador, and northern Chile at an altitude of to above sea level, throughout the year...

  • Cama
    Cama (animal)
    A cama is a hybrid between a male dromedary camel and a female llama, produced via artificial insemination at the Camel Reproduction Centre in Dubai. The first cama was born on January 14, 1998...

    , a crossbreed between a llama and a camel
    Camel
    A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as humps on its back. There are two species of camels: the dromedary or Arabian camel has a single hump, and the bactrian has two humps. Dromedaries are native to the dry desert areas of West Asia,...

  • Grass Mud Horse
    Grass Mud Horse
    The Grass Mud Horse or Cao Ní Ma is a Chinese Internet meme widely used as a form of symbolic defiance of the widespread Internet censorship in China. It is a play on the Mandarin language words "fuck your mother", and one of the so-called 10 mythical creatures created in a hoax article on Baidu...

    , a parody originating from Mainland China of 2009 that features the alpaca and llama
  • Guard llama
    Guard llama
    A guard llama is a llama used in farming to protect sheep, alpacas, goats or other livestock from coyotes, dogs and other predators. Typically, a single gelded male is used.-Guarding:...

    , llamas used as livestock guardians
  • Lamoid
    Lamoid
    Lamoid is a group of South American camelids, which includes the guanaco, vicuna, alpaca and llama. The digestive system of lamoids is distinctive, with a noteworthy capability for digesting certain toxins. Furthermore, the gallbladder structure is absent in lamoids.-References:* Murray E. Fowler....

  • Llama hiking
    Llama hiking
    Llama hiking, also known as llama trekking or llama caravanning, is an activity where llamas accompany people on walking expeditions, including eco-tourism. The expeditions can last from as little as a few hours to several days...


External links

  • Llamas Close Up – slideshow by Life magazine
    Life (magazine)
    Life generally refers to three American magazines:*A humor and general interest magazine published from 1883 to 1936. Time founder Henry Luce bought the magazine in 1936 solely so that he could acquire the rights to its name....

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK