If you see the pictures of Llamas and Alpacas, you probably can’t differentiate them. Aside from the fact that they look similar, they are from the same family. From the pictures, llamas can be cute and adorable – but they may not be so if you meet them up-close and personal.
Llama is included in the family of Camelidae which dated back to forty million years ago in North America. Around 3 million years ago, they moved to South America and also Asia.
The word Llama is often used to call the animals with the same relation. Basically, the Camelidae family is divided into 4 different species: the alpaca, the llama, the guanaco, and the vicuña.
Llama vs Alpaca
As it was mentioned before, people often can’t tell the differences between the llamas and alpacas – especially if they see only the pictures of Llamas. But if you want to take a closer look, you can actually differentiate them. First, llamas are generally bigger. They also have a more pronounced and elongated head.
But alpacas have better and softer wool than llamas. That’s why their hair is often used for fleece manufacturing and production. Not to mention that the colors are different – from light yellow to white and then brown and black.
Basically, llamas are 250 pounds in weight whereas alpacas are only 143 pounds, max. The weight can range between 121 and 143 pounds. Llamas have an elongated face with ears the size of bananas. Alpacas, on the other hand, have blunt and a small face with shorter ears.
Llamas for Traveling
Llamas are used as the carry beasts or pack animals. Because of their weight and strong stance, they can handle load up to 132 pounds and travel a distance of 18.6 miles every day. However, they have a bad attitude.
When they aren’t happy because of maltreated or overload, they would kick or spit or refuse to move at all. They are basically gentle creatures but they can be ‘’evil’’ when they are unhappy. Alpacas, on the contrary, are timid. They don’t like staying far from their herd. Basically, they are easier to control.
Characteristics of Llamas
They are basically intelligent and clever animals. Training them is easy. They are also sociable although they need their own kind accompaniment. Basically, llamas are generally curious, shy, and gentle.
They can have a common sense, believe it or not. When they are calm, they can be fun– they can be very friendly and easy to handle, even with kids. However, don’t try to handle them too much as they don’t really like it.
How do llamas communicate, especially among each other? They use body language, humming, spitting, and ear position. When they spit to other llamas, it means that they are trying to establish dominance. When they feel threatened, they prefer running away instead of facing their aggressor.
Be careful when they start making a groaning sound, such as ‘mwa’ because it means that they are angry or scared. It is quite common for llamas to spit to each other not only to determine dominance but also to discipline the lower-rank ones within the herd.
The problem with the social rank of llamas in the herd is that it has never been static. The rank can go up and down, depending on the small fights they have.
Llamas fights can be dramatic, involving neck wrestling, kicking, spitting, and chest ramming to each other. The idea, after all, is to make the opponent fall.
The female llamas would be ready for their first breed when they are already 12 months to 18 months. Their sexual maturity is reaching a peak from 18 months to 24 months. They don’t have any heat cycle but they are considered induced ovulators.
Basically, there is no specific time period to breed them – they can breed anytime within a year. The gestation times takes around 50 days.
When the female llamas give birth, they will do it in the standing position – and usually in a broad daylight hour. The baby is called cria and it can be born normally without any help. It would be rare to find pictures of Llamas giving birth, but if you can find one, it would be one of a kind.
The cria can be nursed within 90 minutes after the delivery. The cria has an average weight of 18 pounds to 35 pounds. Cria’s weaning time is generally around 5 months old.
If you want to learn more about how they communicate, you should be observant about how they produce clucking sound or humming sound. For instance, humming noise can be used for different reasons, such as greeting new babies or when they are worried.
The clucking sound is often used by the male llamas when they are flirty with the female llamas. However, the sound can also be used to greet new members of the herd.
In the end, learning about llamas (and the family) can be quite interesting. Learning them from the pictures of Llamas alone won’t be enough – you should be close to them to gain better knowledge and insight.