South America in the Andes. Domestic from southern Peru to northwest Argentina.
Mountains and upland plateaus above 10,000 feet altitude.
The slender head has a large cone-shaped snout; the upper lip is split. The ears are long, pointed and highly mobile. The large eyes have very long lashes. The long, thin neck is slightly arched at the base, and the back is level. The large, heavy body has long, stout legs which have a deeper cleft and more padding than a camel's foot. The thick tail is short, almost naked on the underside. The llama has a three-chambered ruminating stomach.
It is active by day. The strength, size, and sure-footedness of the llama has made it an excellent beast of burden for people of its native country. It can travel 15 miles a day with a pack of up to 100 pounds. If the animal feels overburdened it will lie down and refuse to move even when pressed. Only the male is used as a pack animal. The llama can be very ill-tempered, often spitting and biting at the object of its displeasure.
Mating takes place in the late summer and fall after sparring between males. The gestation period is 11 months. A single precocial offspring is born. The baby is weaned at 3 months, but it stays with its mother for 2 more months; then the males are driven from the herd. Sexual maturity is reached at 2 years.
There are no true wild llamas. The Indians of South America make rugs and rope from the hair, sandals from the hide, candles from the tallow, and fuel from the droppings, and will eat the flesh on special occasions. Llamas are indispensible to these people's very way of life.
|Did YOU Know?|
|Llamas have been domesticated for over 1,000 years.|