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The llama is a domesticated South American camelid, widely used as a meat and pack animal by Andean cultures since the Pre-Columbian era. Most herds of llamas are maintained by the people living in Andes. The llama is primarily a pack animal but is also used as a source of food, wool, hides, tallow for candles, and dried dung for fuel.


The llama’s high thirst tolerance and endurance makes it an important transport animal on the bleak Andean plateaus and mountains. The llama is a gentle animal, but, when overloaded or maltreated, it will lie down, hiss, spit and kick, and refuse to move. When using a pack, they can carry about 25 to 30% of their body weight for 8 to 13 km.


A full-grown llama can reach a height of 1.7 to 1.8 m at the top of the head, and can weigh between 130 and 200 kg. Llamas typically live for 15 to 25 years, with some individuals surviving 30 years.


Llamas that are well-socialized and trained to halter and lead after weaning are very friendly and pleasant to be around. They are extremely curious and most will approach people easily.


Llamas mate in a lying down position, which is fairly unusual in a large animal. They mate for an extended time (20–45 minutes), also unusual in a large animal. The gestation period of a llama is 11.5 months (350 days). Females do not lick off their babies. Rather, they will nuzzle and hum to their newborns.


Llamas graze on grass and, like cows, regurgitate their food and chew it as cud. They chomp on such wads for some time before swallowing them for complete digestion. Llamas can survive by eating many different kinds of plants, and they need little water.


The fiber is extremely delicate and soft, and highly valued for the purposes of weaving, but the quantity that each animal produces is minimal.

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