llama

Llama

Lama glama


Description

The llama is a long-necked mammal with thick fur and a stubby tail. Its face resembles that of a camel, with a rounded muzzle and a split upper lip. The llama's wool can come in a variety of colors including gray, beige, brown, and red, and can be patterned or a uniform color.

Size

Llamas stand 3-4 feet tall at the shoulders and 5-6 feet tall at the head. Adults weigh between 250 and 450 pounds. Females are generally smaller and weigh less than males.

Adaptations

Diet

The llamas at Cosley Zoo are fed hay and a commercial llama chow. They also receive fruits and vegetables as part of their training sessions.

Reproduction

A female llama can begin to breed when she is one year old. The gestation period is 350 days. She can have up to one baby per year until she is about 15 years old. Llamas can be bred at any time of the year. They are induced ovulators, which means they ovulate 24-36 hours after breeding. A baby llama weighs 18 to 33 pounds when it is born, and can stand up within one hour. Baby llamas are nursed by their mothers for 6 months before they are weaned.

Shelter and Space Needs

The llamas at Cosley Zoo have an outside yard they inhabit during the day where they are able to get fresh air and exercise. They are able to stay out in their yard in almost any weather except for heavy rain or lightning. They also have a stall in the barn that they share, which opens up into another outdoor yard. These two llamas have lived together their entire lives.

Life Expectancy

Llamas can live up to 20 years, with an average life expectancy of 15 years.

Importance to Man

In the mountains of Peru, where they were domesticated, llamas have a variety of uses. As pack animals, llamas can carry 25-30% of their body weight. Female llamas are a food source, providing their owners with meat and milk. Llama wool is used for weaving clothes and rope, the skin for leather, the fat for making candles, and the dried excrement for fuel. Llamas raised commercially in the United States today are raised for companion animals, shows, wool, and fertilizer. They also can serve as livestock guardians, protecting sheep, goats, and other animals from predators.

Fun Facts