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Guanacos Camels Llamas Alpacas and Vicuñas: Camelidae

Llama (lama Glama): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: The average height of a llama is 3.8 feet (1.2 meters). They weigh around 309 pounds (140 kilograms). Legs are long, and the coat is a reddish-brown. Face, ears, and legs can be tainted black, white, or a mix of other colors.

Geographic range: Llamas live in Peru, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia.

Llamas are typically found in herds, such as this one near Lake Titicaca, Bolivia. (Norman Owen Tomalin/Bruce Coleman Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Habitat: Llamas live in high-altitude grasslands up to 13,120 feet (4,000 meters).

Diet: Llamas eat grasses and salty plants.

Behavior and reproduction: Llamas do not touch one another, not even in mother-offspring relationships. They are very herd-oriented and travel in groups. Llamas live to be older than twenty years.

Llamas are believed to have numerous mates. One male can mate with up to thirty females. Pregnancy lasts about eleven months.

Llamas and people: Llama fiber is used in making ropes, cowboy hats, and rugs. Their skin is used to make leather goods, and their bones make instruments for weaving looms. Their meat is low in fat, and because they move rather slowly, llamas are easy to catch. They make great pack animals and are used throughout the world for commercial mountain treks.

Conservation status: Llamas are not threatened. There were around 2.5 million llamas throughout the world in 2004. ∎



Frisch, Aaron. Llamas. Mankato, MN: The Creative Company, 2003.

Karr, Kathleen. Exiled: Memoirs of a Camel. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 2004.

Nowak, Ronald M. "Guanaco, Llama, and Alpaca." Walker's Mammals of the World 5.1 Online. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997. http://www.press.jhu.edu/books/walkers_mammals_of_the_world/artiodactyla/artiodactyla.camelidae.lama.html (accessed on May 28, 2004).


Freeman, Darren. "Alpaca Ranchers Spur Livestock Trend N.C. Farming Don't Worry—The Llama-Like Animals Don't Spit at People." The Virginian Pilot (March 28, 2004): Y1.

Web sites:

"About Alpacas." AlpacaInfo.com. http://www.alpacainfo.com/newsite/about/history.html (accessed on May 28, 2004).

"Information About Camels." LlamaWeb. http://www.llamaweb.com/Camel/Info.html (accessed on May 28, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsGuanacos Camels Llamas Alpacas and Vicuñas: Camelidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Camelids And People, Conservation Status, Dromedary Camel (camelus Dromedarius): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT