PHOTO: Sigred Philipsen/Flickr
Martok
April 23, 2012

Last week, we talked about where llamas and alpacas came from. According to the International Lama Registry there are 163,131 llamas in the United States and the Alpaca Registry says there are 167,802 alpacas, too. Lamas are popular nowadays!

But llamas and alpacas do some weird things that we goats don’t do. Did you know that they always pee and poop in the same spots? Bandit has three potty spots in his pasture. People who keep llamas and alpacas call them dung piles or poop piles. This is handy for several reasons:

  1. You can haul your llama or alpaca in your van or SUV because he won’t make a mess in the back. And because lamas nearly always travel lying down (lying down is known as “cushing” in lama lingo), they don’t take up very much room.
  2. Unless they can’t get out to use a poop pile outdoors, llamas and alpacas rarely dirty their stalls.
  3. It’s easy to collect lama “beans” from a poop pile to put them on your garden. Mom and Dad garden with Bandit’s beans all the time. Lama poop is nutrient-rich and it doesn’t burn plants if you use it fresh; read more about it here. Some people even package lama poop and sell it!

Also unlike most other animals, llamas and alpacas spit. Well-mannered llamas and alpacas hardly ever spit at people, but they spit on one another all the time. Spitting means, “I don’t like what you’re doing!” or “Get away, and leave me alone!” Lamas warn each other before they spit by raising their chins and laying back their ears. They give the other llama or alpaca an evil lama death stare that says, “Back off!” If the other lama doesn’t pay attention, the spitter may spew just air but anything in his mouth, like partially chewed grass or hay flies out, too. If that doesn’t work, watch out! The angry lama horks up green, stinky cud from deep in its stomach. It smells incredibly nasty, so never get caught in the crossfire when lamas spit!



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