Llamas are members of the camel (camelid) family.  With similar faces, llama and camels both have a lot of personality.  Llamas, much smaller than camels, have become popular 4-H show animals and friendly farm companions.  Black Pine has provided a safe haven to many llamas over the years, and is today home to two named "Anson" (at left) and "Rocket".  Anson was a former 4-H project animal that was re-homed after his 4-H caregiver left home to head to college.  Rocket has been in residence for many years and was also a backyard pet among others who lived out their lives at the sanctuary.  

Sporting thick wooly coats, llamas are designed to survive a range in temperatures.  This accommodates them in their natural habitat at the foothills of the Andes Mountains of South America.

With soft-bottomed feet and a split-toe type hoof, they are very sure-footed and make great backpacking animals.  Llamas can carry a large pack, over 100 pounds each, at altitudes as high as 14,000 feet.  Today you can hike alongside llamas in many national parks and throughout South America.

A primary defense for the llama is the ability to spit accurately up to about eight feet away.  Although sometimes one hears a llama snorting, when they really spit with intent you know it!  The llama brings up sticky acidic stomach juices when it spits, leaving it's victim covered with a very nasty and smelly mess.

Visitors to Black Pine can rest assured the llamas are highly unlikely to spit at people.  Knowing that most folks are there to feed them much-loved treats, spitting is far from their minds.


InfoBox - Llamas

Status:  Nearly 3.5 million living in South America.

Diet in wild:  Mainly grass and herbs.

Life span in wild:  15 to 29 years.

Weight:  From 150 to 350 pounds.

Native habitat:  Southern Peru through Western Bolivia; northwest Argetina to northwest Chile.