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A llama looking out from Machu Picchu | © Roger Nelson/Flickr
A llama looking out from Machu Picchu | © Roger Nelson/Flickr
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17 Things You Need to Know About Llamas in Peru

Picture of Brandon Dupre
Updated: 28 June 2017
The llamas have become so synonymous with Peruvian culture that you can find some sort of llama trinket or stuffed animal anywhere in Peru. In honor of the large fluffy animal, here are some facts about llamas, the Incas’ beast of burden.

1. Llamas are native to Peru, Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina in South America.

A llama in Cusco
A llama in Cusco | © Geraint Rowland / Flickr

2. They are related to the camel, and are the oldest domesticated animal in the world.

3. The llama was used both as food and as a pack animal by the Incas.

4. Llamas are not the same species as their smaller, fluffier cousin the alpaca.

The llama’s cousin, the alpaca
The llama’s cousin, the alpaca | © Eljay / Flickr

5. They can live between 15 and 25 years, with some living as long as 35.

6. Llamas can carry about 30% of their body weight over journeys of many miles, which why they were widely used by the Incas as beasts of burden.

7. Llamas mate while lying down, a process that lasts about 20 to 30 minutes.

8. Llamas spit when they are agitated, so watch out.

Beware of the llama’s spit
Beware of the llama’s spit | © ☰☵ Michele M. F. / Flickr

9. Llamas’ coats can be black, white, brown, or reddish.

10. Llamas have three stomachs and eat grass, weeds, and other plants.

11. Llamas produce less wool than alpacas, and alpacas are worth more.

12. Llamas are very social creatures and can make good pets.

Llama stuffed toys
Llama stuffed toys | © peruviaje / Flickr

13. An overpacked llama will lie down and not move until you take off some weight.

14. The gestation period of a llama is about 350 days.

15. A running llama can reach speeds up to 35 mph (56 kph).

16. llamas can reach about 6 feet (1.8 metres) tall and weigh between 300 and 450 pounds (136 and 204 kilograms).

17. Llamas have been known to protect herds of sheep and other smaller domesticated animals from predators.

Herd of llamas
Herd of llamas | © pululante / Flickr