WHY DO PEOPLE ENJOY THE COMPANY OF LLAMAS?
After all, they look a bit intimidating with their bulbous eyes, banana-shaped ears and giraffe-like necks.
Most likely, it is because llamas are naturally gentle and compliant. That’s also why they’re among the world’s oldest domesticated animals, which is a very small group of critters that have a friendly disposition, will procreate in captivity and don’t mind being fenced in.
Here’s the entire list of domesticated animals, in the order they were domesticated:
Dog, sheep, pig, goat, cow, cat, chicken, guinea pig, donkey,
domesticated duck, water buffalo, horse, dromedary camel, llama,
silkworm, reindeer, rock pigeon, goose, Bactrian camel, yak,
banteng (cow), gayal (cattle), alpaca, ferret, Muscovy duck,
guinea fowl, common carp, domesticated turkey,
goldfish, and European rabbit
Are you wondering why the panda, lion and zebra aren’t on this list? These animals and others like them can be tamed, but they are certainly not naturally friendly or compliant, which means they probably never will be domesticated and are best encountered in a wild animal zoo.
Domestication has proven to be a very good thing for llamas—and for us. Because of the scarcity of food in the harsh wilds of South America, llamas would have become extinct if not for the people of Peru in about 3,500 B.C., who chose llamas to serve as beasts of burden. Now all over South America, llamas are used to carry up to 1/3 of their weight in cargo as far as 15 miles a day.
Since the 1970s, llamas have been at work in the U.S.A. in a variety of capacities, including:
Take a pack of llamas on a hike through the woods or along a mountainous area. They can carry your camping equipment, and because llamas are so agile, they can quickly maneuver out of the way of oncoming horses and other hikers.
Llamas can pull one or two people in a specially designed cart. Such llamas must be at least four years old (fully grown) and trained for the task, but llamas learn quickly.
If you’d like to spend some time getting to know the nature of llamas, take a pack of llamas for a walk! Llama Walks enable you to learn about these incredibly interesting creatures by observing them up close.
If you’d like to watch llamas interact with one another, sign up for Llama Llessons to learn about these fascinating animals from head to toe. You’ll be surprised just how different llamas are as compared to other barnyard animals.
If you can find a golf course that will allow you to use a llama for a caddy, then you will surely distract and impress your opponents–and everyone else within view. Don’t forget a small rake and shovel to pick up the llama beans. Offer them to the groundskeeper for use as fertilizer.
Many llama owners participate in llama shows, which are similar to dog shows and horse shows. Llama owners are awarded ribbons and sometimes prize money for having the llama with the best wool, disposition, cart driving, obstacle driving, haltering or performance. There are special youth awards, too. The offspring of award-winning llamas are considered more valuable when sold, which brings us to our next subject…
This activity requires a breeder’s license, a horse-zoned property, proper acreage–and lots of time. But baby llamas, called crias, sure are cute!
A month before the summer season, llamas are shorn for the wool that they grow. This luxurious, highly valuable wool can be cleaned, spun, dyed and knit into clothing, rugs and accessories.
It’s easy to fall in love with llamas, because they are so beautiful, gentle, intelligent and quirky. No wonder they were domesticated long ago.
Here’s hoping you get to spend some time with a llama soon, whether it is for exercise or for the pure joy of being with them.
Happy Trails from Mama Llama!