How Fast Can Llamas Run?

Despite living at high altitudes and not having the longest legs, llamas are still fast runners. Like other animals, llamas rely on speed to run away from danger and can reach a top speed of 40 mph (65 km/h).  

When it comes to long distances, llamas can run at a steady speed of around 30 mph (45 km/h).

When looking at how fast llamas run, it is important to note the way this animal walks/runs.

Scientists note four natural gaits in llamas: the walk, pace, trot, and gallop. Some add the pronk or stott as the fifth gait. Another, more recent study noted that llamas have only 2 gaits: walking and galloping. They say that llamas always change from a walk to a gallop with a jump; there is no clear transitional gait. [1

Just like their cousins, the camels, llamas walk by moving the same-sided legs forward at the same time and then moving the legs of the opposite side. This makes these camelids a bit unstable as they shift their weight from one side to the other. 

The benefit of this type of locomotion is that the limbs of one side cannot interfere with the limbs of the other and that allows the animal to extend the length of its stride. This saves energy when walking. At faster speeds, it should be noted that llamas switch from symmetrical to asymmetrical gaits.

Because of this, llamas have an average walking speed of around 2.9 mph (4.7 km/h). 

Next, let’s compare the running speeds and average walking speed between llamas and horses, alpacas, camels, llama’s predators, coyotes, elephants, giraffes, and llama’s keepers, humans.

how fast can llamas run

Is A Llama Faster Than A Horse?

In horses, the highest ever recorded speed was 55 mph (88km/h). Compared to these stallions, llamas are significantly slower with their running speed of 40 mph (65 km/h). That’s a 15 mph difference (24 km/h).

On average, a horse walks about 4.3 mph (7 km/h). This is a lot faster than llamas and their average walking speed of 2.9 mph, by almost 1.5 mph (2.4 km/h).

Horses have an average limb length between 51 and 63 inches (130-160 cm) depending on the breed; llamas have between 24 and 32 inches long ones (60-81 cm). This is almost two times shorter compared to horses. It is easy to see why a horse walks faster than a llama.

Is A Llama Faster Than An Alpaca?

Alpacas can reach a top speed of 35 mph (56 km/h). Compared to llamas, which have a top speed of 40 mph (65 km/h), alpacas are slightly slower. This means that an alpaca would finish a 10-mile race in 17 minutes and 9 seconds; a llama would finish the race in 15 minutes.

Alpacas have an average walking speed of 2.2 mph (3.5 km/h); this is a bit slower compared to llamas (2.9 mph).

Again, this is also normal as llamas are a bit larger than alpacas and have slightly longer legs. This allows them to have a longer stride of 47 inches (1.2 m) compared to alpacas’ 35 inches long stride (0.9 m).

Is A Llama Faster Than A Camel?

It might not be the fastest animal on planet Earth, but the highest speed ever recorded for a camel was 40 mph (65 km/h). This is similar to the top speed of a llama.

When it comes to average walking speed, a camel walks between 2.5 and 3.5 miles per hour (4-6 km/h). Compared to llamas that walk around 2.9 mph (4.7 km/h), camels are a bit faster. 

This is normal, as camels are a lot bigger animals than llamas and have a lot longer legs. On the other hand, llamas are more agile than camels; they can change directions quickly and make sharp turns.

Is A Llama Faster Than Coyote?

Coyote is a llama’s natural predator that can reach speeds of up to 43 mph (69 km/h). Compared to them, llamas are a bit slower (3 mph). This gives llamas a small chance to try to outrun coyotes.

Coyotes typically travel at speeds ranging from 0.6 mph to 3.1 mph (1 to 5 km/h). This is similar to llama’s average walking speed (2.9 mph). [2]

Is A Llama Faster Than A Human?

The fastest human ever recorded was Usain Bolt with the top speed of 27.33 mph (43.99 km/h) in a 100-meter sprint during the World Championships in Berlin in 2009. Compared to humans, llamas are faster by around 13 mph (21 km/h).

When it comes to average walking speed, a walking speed of 3 to 4 mph is typical for most people (4.8-6.5 km/h). This is similar to llamas (2.9 mph); some humans can even outpace a llama.

Is A Llama Faster Than An Elephant?

African elephant, the world’s largest land mammal, can run at speeds of up to 25 mph (40 km/h). Llamas can outrun elephants by 15 mph (24 km/h).

The average walking speed of an elephant is around 4.5 mph (7.2 km/h), but many elephants walk a lot faster – up to 15 mph (25 km/h). Compared to elephants, llamas walk at a lot slower pace.

Is A Llama Faster Than A Giraffe?

When running at full speed, giraffes can reach the speed of 38 mph (60 km/h). Compared to giraffes, llamas run similarly fast, maybe a bit faster; the difference is 2 mph (3.2 km/h).

With their 6-foot-long legs, the normal giraffe’s cruising speed is around 10 mph (16 km/h). Quite natural, compared to them, llamas walk a lot slower (2.9 mph).

Here’s a comparison table of top speeds between these 8 animals.

AnimalTop Running SpeedAverage Walking Speed
Llama40 mph (65 km/h)2.9 mph (4.7 km/h)
Horse55 mph (88km/h)4.3 mph (7 km/h)
Alpaca35 mph (56 km/h)2.2 mph (3.5 km/h)
Camel40 mph (65 km/h)3.5 mph (6 km/h)
Coyote43 mph (69 km/h)3.1 mph (5 km/h)
Human27 mph (44 km/h)4 mph (6.5 km/h)
Elephant25 mph (40 km/h)4.5 mph (7.2 km/h)
Giraffe38 mph (60 km/h)10 mph (16 km/h)
Top speed comparison between llamas and other animals

When running, a llama will slightly tilt their head and neck a bit low and forward to counterbalance the side-to-side body sway during pacing.

Final Thoughts

This concludes our article going over how fast can llamas run to an end.

Here, we explained that the top speed for llamas is around 40 mph (65 km/h) and an average walking speed of 2.9 mph (4.7 km/h). Llamas are faster runners than alpacas, elephants, giraffes, and humans, but a lot slower than horses. 

When it comes to llama locomotion, when they walk, llamas will have a symmetrical gait; when they pick up the pace, llamas will walk asymmetrically.


References

[1] Van der Sluijs, Leendert, M. Gerken, and H. Preuschoft. “Comparative analysis of walking gaits in South American camelids.” Journal of Zoology 282.4 (2010): 291-299.

[2] Crête, M., and S. Larivière. “Estimating the costs of locomotion in snow for coyotes.” Canadian Journal of Zoology 81.11 (2003): 1808-1814.

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