What do these animals have in common with the llama?
They all have tusks!
Did you know that male llamas grow six razor-sharp tusks by the time they are three years old? These are hooked fighting teeth used to fight predators. Llama tusks are usually filed down soon after they erupt; otherwise, a tusked llama can permanently slit the ears of other llamas or cause worse damage when they wrestle with each other. Llamas used as guardian animals or placed in wildlife attractions, however, need their tusks to fend off canines, such as coyotes and stray dogs.
ShangriLlama had been on “Llama Tusk Alert” since Dalai Llama and Barack O’Llama were 18 months old. That’s the earliest that llama tusks erupt. Since then, our llama groomer had been checking inside the mouths of these llamas during their quarterly pedicures. Magically, when Dalai Llama and Barack O’Llama became three years old, their tusks broke through their gum lines. So Mama Llama called the llama vet tech to come for a visit.
Upon examination, the vet tech revealed that Dalai Llama and Barack O’Llama had only grown tusk buds, rather than long, dangerous tusks. That’s likely because both llamas had been gelded (neutered), which decreases the hormones that encourage tusk growth. So the vet tech filed down the hooked part of the tusks, using an obstetrical wire. Here’s what that looks like:
Guess how long it took before both llamas were fully recovered from their five-minute tusk-filing procedure? Well, as soon as they were released from the llama chute, Dalai Llama and Barack O’Llama were eating grass and playing with the rest of the pack!
Here’s what their tusk buds looked like before they were shaved down. Notice the pointy teeth. Those are llama tusk buds!
And here’s what fully grown llama tusks look like. Llama tusks are razor-sharp!
Neither Dalai Llama nor Barack O’Llama would agree to an after-photo to show off their tuskless mouths. Can’t say I blame them!
Happy Trails from Mama Llama!