Llamas are captivating animals that graze on lush pasture grasses. As pets, they are top-notch farm guardians, and they can defend themselves quite well in the wild. But do they eat anything besides grass? Here, we have that information and more!
What Are Llamas?
Llamas are wooly pack animals that are native to South America. Usually, in the wild, llamas remain in groups between 20 and 100 per herd.
There is typically a singular male with multiple females. They all raise their offspring together, which when grown, branch off into their own packs.
Llamas live in the Andes Mountains in South America. Typically, you will find them grazing on lush mountain foliage in Peru and Bolivia. They can easily adapt to mountain terrain, as their bodies are built for harsh weather.
Llamas can withstand elevations as high as 13,000 feet. However, they have adapted to many different environments ever since they were domesticated.
- Related Read: Alpaca vs. Llama: What are the Differences?
Llamas are strictly herbivorous, which means they thrive on nutrient-rich grasses for survival. Their teeth are shaped like all herd animals are—flat and of equal length—making their mouths perfect for shredding plant material.
Llamas in their natural state often browse grasslands and mountain terrain in search of delicious greens. Llama favorites include:
- Flowering plants
- Certain trees
In nature, llamas live in herds for protection and socialization. They rely on each other and stick together to ward off predators and keep each member safe.
Even though llamas might be fantastic at warding off predators, they still face some issues in the wild. Since they are herd animals, it both helps and hurts their survival chances.
Once a predator catches wind of the flock, it can be easy to pick off the llamas one by one. However, these large hooved creatures aren’t afraid to put a prowling hunter in their place.
Natural predators of llamas include:
- Mountain lions
Llamas as Pets
Farm life is a big change of pace for llamas. Even though these animals are pretty leisurely about their daily lives, many farmers give them watchful duties to protect other, less-capable farm animals in the pasture.
Llamas usually graze with other animals on the farm. They are quite compatible with other field mates outside of their species but love having other llama friends around too.
Many llamas prefer open access to the outdoors, but you should also provide shelter for inclement weather.
Many farmers will add a singular llama or multiple llamas to their fields to protect their existing livestock. Llamas don’t take any funny business from local predators. Having a llama in your field will ensure that all your precious livestock stays safe when you can’t be there to watch.
One remarkable thing about having llamas in your field is that they are natural foragers that pretty much feed themselves. They spend their time out in the pastures snacking on all of the grasses and shrubs. However, many farmers supplement their diets with alfalfa hay.
Just like any other animal, llamas can run into certain health conditions. While they’re generally hardy and healthy, be aware of the following conditions:
Wild vs. Domestic Llama Dietary Comparison
When comparing the domestic versus wild diet of a llama, you won’t find much difference. One thing to keep in mind is that many plants that are native to llamas in their natural habitat won’t be available in many different areas of the world.
But the concept is the same everywhere. Llamas will naturally forage for their food in the fields, requiring little help from any outside source.
Fun Facts About Llamas
Llamas are incredibly interesting. Let’s look at exciting facts that you might not know about them.
So, now you know that llamas in the wild eat like their domesticated cousins. There isn’t much difference other than the types of plants available to them in the area where they live.
However, many farmers supplement their llama’s meals with alfalfa hay to make sure the llama is getting the right amount of nutrition.
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Featured Image Credit by: Pezibear, Pixabay