- Where does llama live?
- Lama: description
- Structural features
- Value for man
Almost five thousand years ago, the Incan Indians of Peru tamed the strong and enduring animal - the llama. It was a bit like a camel, and the Incas, who did not know the wheel, needed a pack animal to carry goods through the Andes mountain paths. For this purpose, only male animals were used, females were necessary for the production of offspring.
Lama belongs to the family of camelids, detachment artiodactyls, suborder mozolenogie. We will tell you about these interesting animals, about the features of their behavior, distribution. You will find out why a lama does not live in the savannah. This is a well-studied animal, which today plays an important role in human life.
Where does llama live?
Llamas are found over a wide area along the Andes. Small herds are found in Ecuador, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and Chile. The homeland of these animals is Altiplano - a place in the south-east of Peru, as well as the west of Bolivia in the high Andes.
Llamas are animals living on low plateaus that cover thickets of shrubs, stunted trees and grasses. They live quite comfortably in the Altiplano region, in temperate climates, and avoid these southern dry and desert areas. The lama does not live in the savannah. These territories do not provide them with a sufficient amount of feed.
Like other members of the camelid family, the llama has long necks and limbs, a rounded muzzle, with prominent lower incisors and a split upper lip clearly visible. Unlike camels, inhabitants of Asia, llamas do not have humps.
The height at the withers of an adult animal is about one hundred and thirty centimeters, the weight of an adult male reaches one hundred and fifty kilograms.
Despite the fact that animals belong to artiodactyls, their limbs have a special structure. The soles of the cloven hooves are covered with callused pads that move in different directions. Thanks to them, the animal feels very confident on the slopes of the mountains where the lama lives. On the legs, the fingers of the llamas can move independently. This feature helps animals with high speed to climb the mountains.
Wool is long and shaggy, varies in color from white to black: beige, brown, golden, gray shades. The fur can be monophonic or with spots of various colors. White llama is extremely rare. Mostly dominated by a reddish-brown tint, diluted with white and yellowish patches.
The blood of these animals contains a large number of red blood cells (red blood cells), respectively, increased levels of hemoglobin. This ensures survival in high-altitude mountainous conditions, poor in oxygen, where the llama lives.
Like other members of the family, llamas have rather interesting teeth: in adult animals, the upper incisors are developed, and the lower incisors have the usual length. The stomach consists of three chambers; when chewing food, a chewing gum is formed.
Llamas are social and pack animals that live in groups of up to twenty individuals. They usually include six females and the offspring of the current year. The herd is headed by a male who quite aggressively defends the interests of his family. He can pounce on a competitor and try to knock him down, wrapping his long neck around the opponent’s neck and biting his limbs.
Defeated male lies on the ground, which demonstrates his complete defeat. Like other members of the family, lamas make roaring, rather low sounds when predators appear, warning other members of the family group of danger. Animals are skillfully protected from enemies: they bite, kick and even spit on animals that pose a threat to them. In captivity, the behavior of llamas resembles the habits of their wild relatives: the males to the last protect the territory, even if it is fenced with a high fence.
Llamas take sheep into their group and protect them as if they were small llamas. Aggression and patronage towards other animals make it possible to use llamas as watchmen for goats, horses and sheep.
This very beautiful animal with soft hair and big eyes eats very little, for example, a horse eats almost eight times as much feed. What does llama eat? Plant food: low-growing shrubs, lichens. They are happy to eat evergreen parastefy, baccharis, plants related to cereals: a fire, polevichka, munroa.
Lama is extremely fond of carrots, white cabbage leaves, broccoli, bread and peel oranges. It is important that the food is juicy and fresh. This will allow the animal's body to be saturated with minerals and trace elements that are necessary for the normal functioning of the body.
You should know that the diet largely depends on the sex and age of the llama. In addition, during pregnancy and feeding of offspring, the female can change taste preferences.
Llamas live in a dry climate, and therefore receive the bulk of the moisture from food. They need from two to three liters of water per day. Hay and grass consumed make up 1.8% of their body weight. Llamas in the home are adapted to the food that is familiar to sheep and goats.
Llamas are polygamous animals. The male collects 5-6 females in a certain area. He rather aggressively drives away from his harem other males who have accidentally entered the site where the lama lives. Young males, who are expelled from the harem, form new herds, gather their own harems, reaching maturity.
The marriage period of the lamas falls on the end of summer or the beginning of autumn. The female bears offspring for almost a year and gives birth to one cub each year. An hour later, the newborn can follow the mother. It weighs about ten kilograms and within four months, while the female feeds it with milk, quickly gains weight.
Most often, the female takes care of the offspring itself, ensuring its protection and proper care for the pups up to one year old. The male only indirectly participates in "family life": protects the territory, provides the herd with food. Domesticated animals, on average, live up to fifteen years, but there are also “long-livers” living to twenty.
Value for man
A lama is a pack animal that can carry loads that exceed their own weight. These animals are indispensable in the highlands, where they are used for transportation, which is very helpful to the locals. With heavy bales, they travel tens of kilometers a day.
In addition to the transportation of goods, for animals that contain llamas, this animal is valuable in many aspects: they are sheared and wool is used for making clothes. Coarse, thick and unusually warm llama wool is a very valuable material. The llamas are clipped every two years, receiving about three kilograms of wool from one animal. For local people, wool felting is a significant source of income.
In farms, llamas are used to protect flocks of sheep from predator attacks. Several llamas are introduced into a flock of sheep or goats, and llamas are guarded to prevent pumas and coyotes from attacking.
Llama meat (males only) is used as food: it is a diet product. The most delicious is the meat of animals not older than one year - it is very tender and juicy.
Llamas are not an endangered species and today these animals are quite widespread. In the world there are about three million individuals, more than 70% of them live in Bolivia.