Llamas are native to South America, and a member of the camilid family. They were bred to be pack animals, wool producers and meat animals, providing all the essentials for life in the mountains.
Many parks use llamas for packing in supplies to remote areas because they provide a low impact alternative to horses. The split hooves of a llama have a soft sole with nail around the edge giving them a light step and a firm grip on rough areas.
Llamas are used extensively in United States for guard animals, protecting sheep and goats from predators such as coyotes or dogs. The inate curiosity of a llama will scare predators from their intended target, they will also herd their charges to safety when they see something threatening.
Wool from llamas is prized for its soft texture and light but high insulating qualities. A wool clip from a llama is only about 4 to 5 pounds, but it will make numerous skeins of yarn due to its light weight, frequently llamas are not sheared all over every year. We shear our llama on his body only one year and then all over the next. Not all llamas have the same amount of wool on their bodies, you will see llamas that only have long hair on their bodies with short hair on legs and neck, and some that are hairy all over and most somewhere in between. Many llamas have guard hair that covers the downy wool and must be separated before spinning. Llamas come in a wide range of colors including bi-colored or tricolor animals. The wool on llamas does not sunburn like sheep's wool, staying its rich colors.
Llamas have a very aloof disposition, they want to be the one to initiate contact. Ignoring a llama is the best way to attract its attention. Most llamas interpret hands reaching out to their face as an act of aggression.
Our Llama, Sailor Man, protects our animals, herding them to the shelter when he thinks they may be in danger and checking out anything suspicious. He is an excessively wooly llama and is solid black. His wool is a dream to spin, it lacks guard hairs and doesn't need to be carded or combed. In summer months, care must be taken to avoid having him overheat due to his color and amount of wool.
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