Llama

Discover how this hairy beast of burden helps the people of the Andes.

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Llamas, after a summer haircut, photographed at Lincoln Children's Zoo in Nebraska
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A llama, after a summer hairtcut, photographed at Lincoln Children's Zoo in Nebraska
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Common Name: Llama
Scientific Name: Lama glama
Type: Mammals
Diet: Herbivores
Size: Height at the shoulder, 47 in
Weight: 250 lbs

Size relative to a 6-ft man

IUCN Red List Status: 
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The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is widely recognized as the most comprehensive, objective global approach for evaluating the conservation status of plant and animal species.

lc

Least Concern

At relatively low risk of extinction

nt

Near Threatened

Likely to become vulnerable in the near future

vu

Vulnerable

At high risk of extinction in the wild

en

Endangered

At very high risk of extinction in the wild

cr

Critically Endangered

At extremely high risk of extinction in the wild

ew

Extinct in the Wild

Survives only in captivity

ex

Extinct

No surviving individuals in the wild or in captivity

Data Deficient

Not enough information available to make an assessment

Not Evaluated

No assessment has been made

?
Not Evaluated
lc
nt
vu
en
cr
ew
ex
least concernextinct
Current Population Trend: 

Unknown


The llama is a South American relative of the camel, though the llama does not have a hump.

Pack Animals

These sturdy creatures are domestic animals used by the peoples of the Andes Mountains. (Their wild relatives are guanacos and vicuñas). Native peoples have used llamas as pack animals for centuries. Typically, they are saddled with loads of 50 to 75 pounds. Under such weight they can cover up to 20 miles in a single day. Pack trains of llamas, which can include several hundred animals, move large amounts of goods over even the very rough terrain of the Andes.

Llamas are willing pack animals but only to a point. An overloaded llama will simply refuse to move. These animals often lie down on the ground and they may spit, hiss, or even kick at their owners until their burden is lessened.

Feeding

Llamas graze on grass and, like cows, regurgitate their food and chew it as cud. They chomp on such wads for some time before swallowing them for complete digestion. Llamas can survive by eating many different kinds of plants, and they need little water. These attributes make them durable and dependable even in sparse mountainous terrain.

Relationship With Humans

Llamas contribute much more than transportation to the human communities in which they live. Leather is made from their hides, and their wool is crafted into ropes, rugs, and fabrics. Llama excrement is dried and burned for fuel. Even in death, llamas can serve their human owners—some people slaughter them and eat their meat. 

Watch: Llamas Bring Happiness to Nursing Home
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