Llamas are a domesticated animal related to camels, alpacas, guanacos and vicuñas. They are mostly found in South America where they are farmed for their meat and fiber. They are extremely social animals and quickly form a herd. These herds have a social ladder, which is constantly changing. One behavior commonly observed in these herds is spitting. If you have ever wondered why llamas spit, keep reading to find the answer.
Why do llamas spit?
The most common reason that llamas spit is to discipline another llama with a lower rank on the social ladder. Male llamas will also attempt to move up the social ladder by fighting other males for their position. In these fights they will spit, ram each other, kick and wrestle with their necks. Female llamas usually only use spitting to control other members of the herd. However, they will also spit and attack a male if he attempts to mate with her when she is already pregnant. Llama farmers have long used this behavioral trait to test if a female is pregnant!
If a llama is well trained it will not usually spit at humans. However, llamas that are bottle fed and over handled when they are young may become difficult to control when they are older. This may cause them to treat humans as other llamas, which includes spitting, kicking and wrestling! If bottle feeding is required it should be done with very little contact and be stopped as soon as they can move on to other food.
Did you know?
Llamas are sometimes used to protect other livestock, such as sheep or goats, from predatory attacks.