The llama is a South American relative of the camel, though
the llama does not have a hump.
Characteristics: These sturdy creatures are domestic animals used by the peoples of the Andes Mountains. Their wild relatives are guanacos and vicuñas. The height of an adult llama will average 5-6 feet and they weigh between 250 and 400 lbs. Llamas are covered with a double coat of fiber that consists of a dense under fleece and a second protective coat of coarse guard hair.
Lifespan: 15-30 years
Habitat: The Andean highlands, especially the Altiplano of southeast Peru and western Bolivia, is the natural habitat of the llama. These plateaus are covered with low growth, including various shrubs stunted trees and grasses.
Range: Llamas have a native range all along the Andes mountains, but are no longer found in the wild. Llamas can be found commercially throughout North America, Europe and Australia.
Diet: 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.
Behavior: Llamas are herd animals that have a strong social structure. Llamas are bold, inquisitive and intelligent.
Llamas have an exaggerated territoriality compared to most species. The drive to establish and hold territory is strongest in the male llama. When territorial challenges occur between llamas, they are directed at the head/ears, forelegs and flanks via biting and kicking.
In the presence of humans, llamas will be relaxed until contact is initiated at which time they may withdraw out of reach.
Keeper notes: Sinbad (male) was born in 2004 and Nina (female) was born in 2007. They came to the zoo in 2011 as a donation from private individuals. Sinbad is a very large male with a black coat and Nina is smaller with a reddish, brown coat.