Llama Cousins

These are the llama’s four cousins.
Do you see the resemblance?

Guanaco, the llama's wild cousin
Vicuna, the alpaca's wild cousin
Yup, it's a camel--distant cousin of the llama and alpaca

Why does Mama Llama favor the llama over its camelid cousins? Well, it’s pretty obvious when it comes to the camel. Scary! Don’t mess with a camel! Then we have the wild cousins–guanaco (gwan’-ah-co) and vicuna (vah-coon’-yah), which, like the domesticated alpaca, are “sheepish,” meaning that you can’t easily hug or pet them or pal around with them.


But llamas? They’re highly social animals. They like to be stroked on their long necks, and they’re the only camelids you would enjoy taking a walk with. That’s one of the many reasons that we established our private zoo for llamas–so you can spend some time getting to know this very friendly animal. We stock males only, because within the camelid family, male llamas are the friendliness. There’s a method to our madness here at ShangriLlama!


And isn’t it interesting how many colors the llama comes in? At ShangriLlama, we purposely chose different colors for our pack, among the many options which include black, white, brown, tan and gray in solid, patchwork, and spotted (appaloosa) patterns! The llama’s cousins are pretty much just shades of brown–lovely browns–but brown.


It is true that the vicuna, guanaco and alpaca have more luxurious wool than a llama. But what fun is that if you can’t easily pet these animals and can’t afford to buy its wool at $1,800 to $3,000 per yard?!


The only thing a camel has that might be fun to have on a llama is its hump. People ask Mama Llama ALL THE TIME if they can ride llamas. Nope; no self-respecting llama will let you, because that would hurt their backs! However, llamas will gladly carry your lunch or your camping equipment in a proper pack on their sides. Walking next to them is plenty fulfilling, just to have the pleasure of the gentle llama’s company.


If you’ve never walked with a pack of llamas, then you’re missing out on an unforgettable experience with the most gentle of the four camelid cousins. Do add this to your life’s “bucket list!”



Happy Trails from Mama Llama!

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