Also known as the “new world camel”, llamas were domesticated in the early 1500s and are valuable work animals. The llama is a tall horse shaped animal with a woolly coat of varying shades. The llama is thought to have originated in North America around 40 million years ago and the llama is the believed to have then migrated to South America and Asia around 3 million years ago, before the American and Asian continents finally separated at Alaska.
The llama is thought to have become extinct from North America during the ice age. Today the llamas have a native range all along the Andes Mountains of South America mostly Bolivia, Chile, and per but are not found in the wild. In this Mountain region llama was kept as a pack animal the ancient Inca people and was used for meal, wool, and skin and for transporting heavy loads. Their coat was used to make cloth and other material goods. Llamas have long neck, limbs, rounded muzzles, protruding lower incisors, and a cleft upper lip. They have long shaggy pelage which varies greatly in color. A common coat pattern is reddish brown fur with mottled pitches of white or yellow. They also come in Tan, Brown, white and Black. Llamas are fairly large mammals and can weight from 130 to 204kg (280-450lbs). A fully grown llama can reach up to about 1.2 m in length from head to tail and 1.21m at the shoulder.
They have a two toed with a thick leathery pad on each foot’s sole. Llamas can survive in poor oxygen, high altitude environment, that’s because they have oval shaped red blood corpuscles and an unusually high content of hemoglobin in their bloodstream, this adaptation allows them to take in more oxygen, making them well suited to life at high altitudes environments. Like camels adult llamas retain only one upper incisor, and the lower incisors clip vegetation against hardened gums. Although the llama has many similarities to the camel, the most notice able difference between the llama and the camel is that the llama does not have a hump on its back. Llamas are gregarious and highly social, living in group of up to 20 individuals. They tend to live in very dry climates and get most of the moisture from their food by browsing on low shrubs, lichens, and mountain vegetation. When kept as domestic animals llamas adapt well to the same diet as sheep and goats.
Llamas can make a variety of low and yammering calls. The most common sound is a humming noise. A female will hum to her cried (babies) to call them, If a couple of males decide to have a fight they will start screaming at each other. These mammals also care for each other, a llama perceives danger it sends an alarm call, which warns the rest of the herd. They will also vocalize warn the herd of predators and to express anger. Llamas are aggressive towards predators and have been reported charging, kicking, biting, and spitting at those they deem a threat. Cougars and bears have been known to attack on llamas in North America, pumas (or mountain lions) are llamas, only natural predator.
Other then animals humans are also one of the predators of them, in South America, thousands are used for meat each year. Well cared domesticated llamas individuals most live for about 15 years.