Raising a pet is an extraordinarily intimate activity. The icon of the dog as man’s best friend is indeed a cherished emotional symbol in our society. The notion of owning a furry friend has evolved, however, as the domestication of certain animals has expanded beyond the classic cat and dog approach. If you want a larger more exotic pet without the colossal expenses of horses or other livestock, consider giving a llama a try. Llamas are exceptionally social animals with a demeanor often described as “aristocratic.” Part of their success in domestication is a result of their supreme friendliness towards humans. They are approachable and warmly welcome cordial advances, deservedly garnering close comparisons with dogs. Llamas similarly communicate their emotional states by ear positions, tail posture, and grunts. They also cherish human companionship, attention, and camaraderie. The bottom line is that these elegant animals make outstandingly gentle companions for you and your family.
Many questions intrinsically present themselves regarding upkeep and maintenance in raising such an exotic and foreign animal. However, llamas are exceptionally easy to maintain as livestock or pets and easy to care for. Besides giving it copious water, a typical diet consists of grassy hay and maybe a proper vitamin and mineral supplement. Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish oil have also been known to enhance the color and vibrancy of its fur. Besides annual vaccinations, veterinarian care or intervention with llamas is extremely minimal. Don’t worry about bathing, llamas are naturally clean and odorless, only requiring simple grooming if necessary. Lastly, llamas are excellent mammalian climate adaptors, requiring simple shelters for shade in the summer and insulation during the winter. Make sure to install an enclosure around its pasture to deter infiltration from curious predators.
Loving llamas is an effortless activity, taking into account their relaxed behavior. A veteran llama owner describes them as “kind, clean, quiet, peaceful, stoic, cute, uncomplaining, and beautiful.” Even the most diehard dog lover would struggle to describe their pet in such flattering terms. Llamas especially enjoy a light scratching, petting, or massage on their necks and back, but prefer not to be hugged or cuddled. Llamas rarely spit on humans as a sign of contempt, saving this as a defense mechanism against other llamas or aggressors.
The best part about owning a llama is their ability to coexist with virtually any other pet or livestock you own. There are countless anecdotes of dogs developing deep and personal companionships with llamas. A llama is also a fruitful long-term investment, with an average lifespan of twenty to thirty years. As you consider diversifying your pet or livestock ownership, give the loving and affectionate llama some serious thought.