Just a Grassy Knoll, Part Two: Llama Playground Opens

Dalai Llama Amuses the Neighbors on His Hill

LLAMAS LOVE HILLS. They’ll stake one out and claim it for themselves–until another llama knocks them off their perch. So, of course, Mama Llama wanted her llamas to have their very own hill. But ShangriLlama’s meadow is flat, and adding a hill would mar the pretty view. So Mama Llama canceled her original plan to bring in–literally–tons of dirt and then seed it with tasty grass.You can read about that crazy idea in the blog dated November 23, 2011, called “Just A Grassy Knoll.”


PLAN TWO: Instead, Mama Llama asked Papa Llama if it would be feasible to clear the thick undergrowth on the naturally hilly land at the opposite end of the llamas’ meadow. More than 60 deeply rooted, poisonous plants would have to be removed in this 150-foot-long area, but the llamas would then have a mini Machu Picchu to play on!


Well, Papa Llama is a soft touch, because he approved of Mama Llama’s vision for a hilly llama playground. A mere seven months later, the project was completed. It required three landscaping crews preceded by consultations with botanists, a university toxicologist, plus use of the Smithsonian’s SnapLeaf application for I-Phone to identify which of the existing plants were poisonous to llamas. (More than 125 common plants are on the list of poisons.) Only four plant species were spared: one large Douglas Pine, one small lemon tree, two pomegranate trees, and a few bottle brush plants. Those remained to provide the llamas with shade and snacks.


The project was worth it! See the llamas perch on their new hill with ease:

Are you wondering how llamas can walk so easily on hilly land? They have magic feet! Or to be more precise, they have gripper pads on the soles of their feet that they can quickly engage and release to remain amazingly surefooted on uneven, loose and steep terrain. Mama Llama has to wear spiked golf shoes to keep from falling in the llama playground! Take a look at these magic llama toes:

The Magic Soles of Llama Feet

The Incas knew all about the magic feet of llamas. That’s why they used llamas to help create terraces for roads and irrigation on the steep hills of Machu Picchu.

Llamas Helped Terrace Machu Picchu

While on Llama Walks, Pajama Llama uses his gripper pads to create an animal adventure park ride for himself and his pack. First, he climbs a loosely packed hill, and then he rides down it as the earth crumbles beneath him. Then the next llama in line takes that ride until they’ve all joined in the fun. Here’s what that looks like:

See pack members waiting in line,

while Pajama Llama finishes playing on a hill.


Llamas definitely love hills, and now the llamas of ShangriLlama have one in their own backyard.



Happy Trails from Mama Llama!

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