Sunday, April 11, 2010

And a Sunday Camelid Extravagaaaaanza! (for Joey)

Years ago, when I was still married, El Erstwhilo worked with a guy who had a llama ranch.

Llamas are a big money-maker, apparently; these folks worked year-round to keep their champion show llamas in top form. A groomed, buffed-up llama is a lovely sight. A shaggy, muddy llama after a winter of being out in the field is less so, but still charming.

A few facts I have llearned about llamas over the years: (primarily about female llamas, as male llamas are assholes and should be avoided lest you get kicked or barfed upon)

1. Mmama llamas are intensely curious and protective of their babies. If you wander into a field with a bunch of llamas, you will soon be surrounded by quiet, tall creatures with no upper teeth who will then solemnly investigate your ponytail, your shoelaces, and the collar of your shirt.

2. Baby llamas are cutest when they're about the size of a greyhound. Mama llamas will let you pet and look at their babies, but don't ever try to grab one.

3. Llamas of any age will attempt to chew your ponytail off, under the excuse of seeing what it tastes like. This is especially true if you have red hair; red is one of the few colors llamas can see.

4. Llamas are no respecters of personal space.

5. If you find yourself in the middle of a llama convention, you'd best hope you're more than five feet tall. If you're not, you'll find yourself doing a sort of desperate semaphore in an attempt to get the people who are with you to notice that you are surrounded (see number four, above) by llamas who would like nothing better to chew your ponytail, your shoelaces, and your shirt collar, cuddle up next to you, and use you as a tool to scratch the itchy bits on their sides. The baby llamas, meanwhile, will be busily engaged in repeated attempts to remove the back pockets on your jeans using just their lips and noses. Llama spit is viscous and does not come out in the wash.

6. Llamas do not smell. That is, they don't stink like horses or smell like dogs; they are quite odorless. I assume they smell in that they can perceive odors.

7. Llamas all poop in the same place. Llama poop looks like larger rabbit pellets, and because they are essentially neat animals, they have communal poop spots. Makes walking the paddock a hell of a lot easier.

8. Llamas are excellent guard animals. Here, people use them as guards (usually along with Anatolian shepherds or donkeys) for everything from goats to chickens. If a group of Mmama Llamas sees a coyote come through the fence--and here, remember that our coyote crossbreeds can reach upwards of 60 pounds--they will surround the coyote and stomp him to death.

9. Even so, llamas do not have hooves. They have big soft smooshy feet with huge calluses on the bottoms, like sandbags.

10. They chuckle and make deep, resonant sounds, almost like a purr, when they're happy. You can hear that sound most easily when you've dug both hands into a winter-roughened llama coat and started scratching, pulling out handfuls of loose hair. That activity, given the softness of llama wool, combined with the noises they make, is incredibly relaxing and pleasurable.

And that is all I know about llamas.


NurseExec said...

OK, this takes the cake for the most enjoyable post I have read all day! Who knew I'd be getting a lesson in Llamas this morning? Loved it :)

Anonymous said...

Love it, Jo. Makes me want to go out and rescue some llamas and keep 'em in our woods.

Anonymous said...

you HAVE seen Llamas with Hats, right?

Engranon said...

I love it! Okay, so I love llamas too. Then again, I love anything that can be sheared and knit. Alpacas are my current favorites, but the llamanator and llama'vi were just too good.


Dr. Rob said...

Well, I have to admit that even being the llama guy that I am, this post is most enlightening. I came here by recommendation of Kim at as llamas are a recurrent theme on my own blog. Very nice to meet you.

Penny said...

[cursing jo for wanting me to go rescue llamas now]

tottergirl said...

You forgot to add that they are sooooooooooooo soft!

Anonymous said...

You are hilarious! "And that is all I know about llamas."

I think it's really cool that you taught us that they poop in the same place and stomp coyotes to death. Llama power, baby!

messymimi said...

Wow. Now I know not to take my 5'0" self into a field of llamas without back up.

Thanks, I enjoyed this.