Llamas are most commonly used as pack animals to carry loads of goods over fairly tough terrain and are also occasionally ridden. While there are no llamas left in the wild, these animals still retain specially evolved techniques to survive in the wild and escape predation, including eyes on the sides of their heads, thick fur to keep them warm in the cold climates they originally lived in, plus, they are capable of some surprising speeds!

It’s rare to see a llama run these days as their domestication has made them not as susceptible to predators as they once were, but many people still wonder: just how fast can a llama run if it needs to? llamas can reach speeds of up to 40 mph. Read on below to find out more!

Llama Quick Facts

Common Name:Llama
Scientific Name:Lama Glama
Height:5–6 feet
Weight:280–600 pounds
llamas grazzing
Image Credit: rachelsk8r, Pixabay

The Top Speed of a Llama

According to experts, llamas can reach speeds of up to 40 mph in rare cases, with an average of around 35 mph for most breeds. Llamas are known to be pack animals more than anything else, capable of carrying loads as heavy as 75 pounds for up to 80 miles, but they can certainly high tail it away from predators when they need to! Llamas are stubborn animals and are known to simply lie down and refuse to move if they are tired or if their pack is too heavy. They sometimes even spit, kick, or hiss at their owners until their needs are met!

The Top Speed of Llamas Compared to Other Animals

In order to get a better idea of just how fast llamas are, let’s look at the top speed of a lama compared with the land speeds of other common mammals.

AnimalTop Speed
1. Cheetah75 mph
2. Quarter Horse55 mph
3. Lion50 mph
4. Hare50 mph
5. Greyhound Dog46 mph
6. African Wild Dog44 mph
7. Llama40 mph
8. Camel40 mph
9. Alpaca35 mph
10. House Cat30 mph
11. Human27 mph
12. Elephant25 mph

While llamas may seem like slow pack animals, they are capable of running faster than not only a human but a full-grown elephant too! Plus, a fast llama could potentially keep up with its close cousins—alpacas and camels.

llama and horse running
Image Credit: Pixabay

Do Llamas Have Predators?

Depending on where they live, there are certainly some predators that can potentially harm a llama. These most commonly include coyotes, mountain lions, and even grizzly bears. That said, llamas are highly protective animals and have even been used by farmers to protect flocks of sheep, occasionally known to stomp coyotes to death! With top speeds of 40 mph, 50 mph, and 35 mph respectively, llamas simply cannot outrun a coyote, mountain lion, or grizzly, and must resort to protective actions. Their strength lies in numbers, and together llamas will shriek, scream, and kick their way out of a dangerous situation.

How Far Can Llamas Spit?

Llamas are capable of some surprisingly high speeds, but this is not the only defense they have in their arsenal. When a llama feels annoyed or threatened, they are known to spit, and you better back off quickly, as these animals can spit up to 10 feet away! Some llamas are more friendly and docile than others and will give you ample warning like raising their chin and flattening their ears, while others may simply let one go with no warning at all!

llama's side profile
Image Credit: manfredrichter, Pixabay

new llama divider

Final Thoughts

Llamas are predominantly known as pack animals capable of carrying fairly heavy loads over long distances—they are a part of the camel family of mammals after all! They are capable of some high speeds when needed though—up to 40 mph in some cases—and so are not as slow and sluggish as they may seem.

Featured Image Credit: Wirestock Creators, Shutterstock