Upside Down Llama

Did you know that llamas love to roll around on their backs in dust? They do it almost every day! Their feet are sensitive enough to detect when the ground beneath them is  powdery enough for a good backscratch. Then there’s nothing a person can do to interrupt this highly pleasurable activity. Look at the gleeful Pajama Llama, below:


Pajama Llama Enjoys a Good Backscratch

Llama backscratching is both predictable and methodical. It’s easy to guess when a llama is going to drop and roll. First, the llama puts his head on the ground with his rear elevated. Then he scratches at the ground just like a cat does in a cat box. Next, he drops to the ground and rolls onto his left side, then upside down, and finally onto his right side. If the dust has some coarse bits in it, then the llama may repeat his crazy upside-down dance moves. Then he shakes off the dust and finally stands up–as if nothing has happened. It’s really quite a sight!


Aside from a dust bath, llamas also roll in dry, crumbly dirt, sand, and food-grade (not pool-grade) diatomaceous earth, known as edible DE. But they won’t roll in mud, and Mama Llama is grateful for that.


Llamas roll for a variety of reasons: to scratch their backs, to suffocate bugs that may have landed on their fiber, to keep their coats healthy and dry, to mark their scent, and to use the dust as sunscreen. Smart! Many other animals roll in dust or crumbly dirt or sand, including birds, cats, dogs, hamsters, chinchilla, pigs, horses, bison and elephants. These animals experience contentment, too, when they roll. In the photo above, it does look like Pajama Llama is having fun.


At the end of most Llama Walks here at ShangriLlama, we invite the llamas to demonstrate how they roll. They kick up quite a dust cloud when the entire pack joins in, much to the delight of our visitors. Come for a visit to see for yourself!

Happy Trails from Mama Llama!
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