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History and Development

Evolutionists believe that llama’s earlier ancestors have migrated from North American

continent to Asia and Africa, resulting in modren day dromedary and bactrian camels, some of

them have gone to the South American continent, known today as the guanaco and vicuna.

Approximately 6,000 years ago in Peru animal domestication was practiced. By breeding

guanacos and vicunas, they developed the strong, larger and gentle llama as a beast of burden,

and its variant, the smaller alpaca as a wool producer.

Popularity of Llamas worldwide & in the U.S.

According to estimates nearly three million llamas are living in the South american continent in

Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. Some more accurate estimates reveal their number to be

approximately 130,000 in US, second only to Peru and Bolivia.

(, Accessed on October 16, 2008)

Physical Description

Llamas have long necks, limbs, rounded muzzles, protruding lower incisors, and a cleft upper

lip. Llamas do not have humps as do Old World camelids. They have long shaggy pelage which

varies greatly in color. A common coat pattern is reddish brown fur with mottled patches of
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white or yellow. Llamas are fairly large mammals standing about 1.21 m at the shoulder and

about 1.2 m in length from head to tail. Adult L. glama can weigh from 130 to 155 kg. Unlike

some other Artiodactyla, L. glama has a two toed foot with a thick leathery pad on each foot’s

sole. ("Llama", 2004; Dias de Avila Pires, 2004; Parera, 2002; T., 2002; Vaughan, Ryan, and

Czaplewski, 2000)

Historical & Current Uses

Llamas are being used for a variety of purposes such as pack animals, for cart pulling and

driving, as a pet therapy, as farm or ranch guards, for breeding and for participation in animal

shows. The fibres(wool) of the animal has its uses due to its lanolin free nature, llama wool was

and still is used mostly for practical items such as outer clothing, blankets, ropes, and sacks used

for packing. (Williams, Llama Fiber, Accessed on October 16, 2008).

Historically llamas were used to haul loads over the Andean mountains because of their ability to

carry burdens in excess of 60 kg for up to 30 km per day. ("Llama", 2004; Dias de Avila Pires,

2004; Honolulu Zoo, 2004; Lewerenz, 2001)

Advantages & Disadvantages of Llama

Llamas browse on low shrubs, lichens, and mountain vegetation. Llamas make use of native

shrubs and grasses including Parastrephia sp., Baccharis sp. (shrubs) as well as Munroa sp.,

Eragrostis sp., and Triseobromus sp. (grasses). Llamas tend to live in very dry climates and get

most of the moisture from their food. (Anderson, 2002; The Rolling Hills Zoo, 1991; Vaughan,

Ryan, and Czaplewski, 2000)
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They are very easy to manage animals as they are very gentle and soft hearted animals. They do

not make any noise except slight humming. A fenced boundary of 5’ is enough to manage

llamas. They can live on minimal food, water and health facilities for a longer period of time

when compared with many other farm/ranch animals.

Llamas are polygynous. L. glama does not have an estrus cycle. They have a very long gestation

period which may extend upto 350 days (11.5 months). Average weight at the time of birth is 20-

35 pounds. (ADW Lama glama Information, Accessed on October 16, 2008)

Work Cited:

Anderson, D. 2002. "Environmental Impact Statement" (On-line). The Llama Crossing.

Accessed October 16, 2008 at <>.

Dias de Avila Pires, F. 2004. "Grolier Online" (On-line). Encyclopedia Americana. Accessed

February 06, 2004 at <>

Honolulu Zoo, 2004. "Honolulu Zoo" (On-line). Llama. Accessed October 16, 2008 at


Parera, A. 2002. Los mamiferos de la Argentinia y la region austral de Sudamerica. Argentina:

A editorial el Ateneo.

T., L. 2002. "Llama" (On-line). Accessed October 16, 2008 at


Lewerenz, D. 2001. Llamas take over for shepherds. Capper's, 123/14: 15.

Vaughan, T., J. Ryan, N. Czaplewski. 2000. Mammalogy. United States of America: Thomson

Learning, Inc..
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Great Northern Rach Web site, Accessed October 16, 2008 at


Williams, B. Llama Fiber <>, Accessed on October 16,


University of Michigan, Museum of Zoology Web site Accessed October 16, 2008 at