Wild Fact #797 – This Fact is Nothing to Spit At – Llama

Photo from http://kareycycling.wordpress.com/2009/04/

Today we are going to look at an animal that originated in North America about 40 million years ago.  That’s right, the llama started there before migrating to South America and Asia.  At least this is the theory but it seems pretty plausible to me. You may be thinking that this doesn’t sound realistic at all since the llama would have to cross the ocean to get to Asia from North America. Luckily they managed to move across before the two continents separated.  It is believed that the llama went extinct in North America during the Ice Age.  I don’t blame them, I wouldn’t have hung around if it got that cold either.

The llama is related to the camel, however, they don’t have the famous camel hump.  I know it is unfortunate but what can you do, right?  At least the llama is able to spit so that is pretty cool.  Have you ever stop to ask yourself what the purpose of them spitting is? They will usually spit in order to settle disputes.  Similarly, this behaviour dictates the dominance among male llamas. The female will also spit but this tells their male counterpart to get outta of her face.  I am glad most human females are a little classier. Usually, the llama will not spit at humans unless they are provoked.  This means that those spitting llamas at the zoo may be a little agitated.

Surprisingly the llama is a noisy mammal that likes to make a wide variety of sounds.  The female llama can often be heard humming to her young, which are called, cria.  I guess she is just singing them a lullaby so they will doze off and give her some alone time. The males will making gurgling noises during mating season and heaven forbid if two males decide to battle it out then they will simply start screaming at each other. One of the most important calls the llama makes is the alarm call.  You see, the male will usually perch itself high above the rest of the herd where they can send a warning call if a predator is approaching.  This technique is a great defense mechanism for the llama.

Well, there is your fact about the llama.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Have a great day.

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