Thursday, 5 December 2013

Llama Lovelies

I am now back home again and have a lot of photos to sort through and video to upload.  I spent 3 very enjoyable birding days with Eileen during my week on the I.O.W.  During the first day, we came upon these 4 Llamas in a field and of course I had to stop and get a few shots!  They were very friendly and ran over to see me.  I was able to feed them green juicy grass.  I will tell you a few things about them between the photographs.

Llamas have an unusual reproductive cycle for a large animal. Female llamas are induced ovulators.  Through the act of mating, the female releases an egg and is often fertilised on the first attempt.  Female llamas do not go into estrus ("heat")
Like humans, llama males and females mature sexually at different rates. Females reach puberty at about 12 months old; males do not become sexually mature until around three years of age.


Llamas mate with the female in a kush (lying down) position, which is fairly unusual in a large animal. They mate for an extended period of time (20–45 minutes), also unusual in a large animal.


The gestation period of a llama is (350 days). Dams (female llamas) do not lick off their babies, as they have an attached tongue which does not reach outside of the mouth more than half an inch (1.3 cm). Rather, they will nuzzle and hum to their newborns.


A cria (from Spanish for "baby") is the name for a baby llama, alpaca, vicuña, or guanaco. Crias are typically born with all the females of the herd gathering around, in an attempt to protect against the male llamas and potential predators. Llamas give birth standing. Birth is usually quick and problem-free, over in less than 30 minutes. Most births take place between 8 am and noon, during the warmer daylight hours. This may increase cria survival by reducing fatalities due to hypothermia during cold Andean nights.

Llamas which are well-socialised 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. However, llamas that are bottle-fed or over-socialised and over-handled as youth will become extremely difficult to handle when mature, when they will begin to treat humans as they treat each other, which is characterised by bouts of spitting, kicking and neck wrestling. Anyone having to bottle-feed a cria should keep contact to a minimum and stop as soon as possible.

  When correctly reared, llamas spitting at a human is a rare thing. Llamas are very social herd animals, however, and do sometimes spit at each other as a way of disciplining lower-ranked llamas in the herd. A llama's social rank in a herd is never static.  While the social structure might always be changing, they live as a family and they do take care of each other. If one notices a strange noise or feels threatened, a warning bray is sent out and all others become alert. They will often hum to each other as a form of communication.

An "orgle" is the mating sound of a llama or alpaca, made by the sexually aroused male. The sound is reminiscent of gargling, but with a more forceful, buzzing edge. Males begin the sound when they become aroused and continue throughout the act of procreation – from 15 minutes to more than an hour.
I hope you enjoyed this different post.
Many thanks for visiting and also for commenting on any of my posts. 


  1. glad you had some nice time away 'birding' - but your llama post is a different one with new information. These look a little different to ones I've seen, longer coat maybe?

  2. They are cute critters! I love your photos and information. It is neat that they hum to their babies. That sounds cute! Have a happy day!

  3. Fascinating post - thanks Margaret! Wonderful animals. I have a friend with Alpacas which are lovely too.

  4. Very fascinating information about these llamas and their habits. Your photos were great Margaret!

  5. Llamas are beautiful animals.
    You made them great pictures.

  6. What a fabulous, very informative post. My goodness, I feel like I stepped into National Geographic. You did yourself proud here Margaret!! I must remember to point out how long the male gives the female pleasure to Bud...rofl [just kidding!]

    Also, I have seen llamas many times in zoos and one llama ranch, but just now realized some have blue eyes. didn't know that.

  7. I am in love the Llamas, they are beautiful. You've made some lovely photos.

  8. they say the same thing about camels and their spitting :-). this is a fantastic post like always-

  9. i once read about a pet llama that road around with its humans in their mini-van. when it needed to get out and go to the bathroom, it would hum. if they didn't stop right away, the llama would hum louder and louder. :)

    1. HI Tex That is hilarious. Thanks for commenting and sharing. That made me laugh.

  10. I found this post very interesting, Margaret. I think I'd back away from those with their ears back and their lips puckered, though. :)

  11. Beautiful critters. Thank you. They remind me of camels - without the attitude.

  12. I find this SO interesting!!! We have lots of alpacas around here, they are like a smaller and kinder llama. They are also very curious. I did not know any of the mating details, they are fascinating! We have a drive through safari here. It is huge and the animals have the run of all of the land. My daughter-in-law has been spit on at least twice, so has a friend. They spit so much that they sell a T-shirt that says "I have been spit on by a llama."

  13. I do love the little llama photos. So peaceful and cute. I guess nature is the one thing we can count on. cheers Nora.

  14. Beautiful photos of the llamas.
    Good information also Margaret.
    Here we have llamas in a petting zoo.

  15. A very interesting post Margaret with some beautiful photos. We used to see llamas on the Isle of Wight when we stayed in the Chale area - my daughter just loved them :)

  16. Beautiful animals! Thank you for a very informative post.