Why Are Llamas So Popular? (7 Main Reasons!)

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Llamas are some of the most popular animals on the planet. People love llamas because they make great companions and farm animals, they are excellent guard animals and have very soft and highly valuable fur. 

Even today, llamas have seen their popularity increase. They are gentle, obedient, and easy to train; kids also love llama-shaped toys.

They look very rough, they spit and kick: why are llamas so popular, you might ask? This couldn’t be further from the truth. Llamas are awesome pets and friends.

In this article, we will explain 7 main reasons why llamas make great pets, how useful they were through history (and even today), and why kids love llamas.

why are llamas so popular

Llamas come from Peru. Before Columbus set his foot on the ground of South America, llamas have been extensively used by the native populations there. 

Llamas became popular during the Inca Empire. They were some of the most useful animals; they carried goods, food, and water, and helped Quechua people rise and expand. The natives in Peru used llamas’ wool for clothing, and milk and meat for food. Llamas were often sacrificed to gods.

At the height of the Inca Empire, there were no horses, mules, or donkeys; llamas were the main domesticated animal. Because of their resilience and ability to adapt to almost any habitat, llamas transported goods throughout South America.

Read more: Can llamas and horses get along?

Today, llamas are still popular animals there. After Bolivia, Peru has the largest llama population in the world. It is estimated that there are around 750,000 llamas in Peru today. 

llamas in peru

Llamas are essential today for over 95,000 families living in extreme poverty in the Peruvian Andes. 

Just as their predecessors, Peruvian people consume their low-fat and low-cholesterol and high-protein meat, occasionally use their intestines to make string and drums, and their excrement as fuel. For the local economy, llamas are also important pack animals, and their fiber is often used for clothing.

Llamas Make Great Guard Animals

Llamas are social and very popular among other livestock. They like the company of their own and other species and will ofter “adopt” a group of sheep or goats as their herd and protect them by chasing off coyotes and other predators. 

Llamas have a keen sense of hearing and excellent eyesight; if they spot an intruder, they will emit an alarm sound to warn the owner and other members of the herd. They will even run at the enemy, kick, bite, spit at it to try to chase it away. 

There have been cases where llamas killed coyotes to protect their herd and livestock. What makes them popular among livestock owners is that llamas attack predators but not other animals. 

It should be noted that it is best to keep one llama instead of a group as guard animals. If there are several llamas in a group, they will bond among themselves and just ignore other livestock animals they should be protecting.

Read more: Will a llama kill its predator and eat its flesh?

Kids Adore Llamas

Llamas owe their popularity amongst kids thanks to the fact that they look “silly and weird – kids love silly and weird things”. Many children are drawn to llamas because they aren’t too mainstream animals, like dogs, cats, or horses.

Kids can see llamas at different festivals and other manifestations; some people bring them to children’s birthday parties to entertain guests.

Here’s a popular llama toy we are sure your kid will like.

They Have Some Of The Softest Fleece In The World

Llamas are highly valued for their soft wool. Their wool is technically hair since it is hollow in the middle. Llama’s wool is extremely fine, soft, and silky, which makes it a very popular animal in the wool industry.

Llama’s undercoat measures from 20 to 40 microns and helps insulate the animal against the cold and UV radiation of the Andean high altitudes.

A llama’s coat can be brown, black, white, grey, or, a combination of these colors. There have been many llamas with a piebald or speckled pattern. They are sheared once every two years and give about 6-8 pounds of fiber per animal.

tails of llamas
Llamas’ different wool colors

Llama’s wool is more coarse and warmer than the alpaca’s, making it a popular choice among manufacturers and fashion creators.

Further reading: Alpaca, a llama’s close cousin

Llamas In Pop Culture

Throughout recent years, llamas have seen their popularity rise in media and television. For example, a Walt Disney Company, made an entire movie about these animals, featuring the Inkan emperor Kuzco as a llama in their animation “The Emperor’s New Groove”. 

A 2004 movie called “Napoleon Dynamite” also featured a llama – Tina, a Napoleon family pet,  with the nickname “Fat Lard”. 

Llamas also make great wedding guests.

Llamas Are Great Therapy Animals

Llamas are gentle, soft, and entertaining animals. These furry companions that help boost patients’ spirits are growing in popularity on the nursing home scene. 

Llamas are favored among children and adults who have emotional and learning difficulties, and among people that suffer from dementia.

child and llamas
Kids adore seeing llamas

A 2006 study examining the effect of animals in therapy sessions discovered that children with autism were significantly more engaged during sessions with these animals. They talked more and made more social interactions and responded positively to the presence of llamas in their environments.

Llamas Have Tiny Antibodies That Might Help Cure Diseases

Llama’s blood contains tiny antibodies, almost half the size of conventional, and tenth the size of human ones, which can cross certain cellular barriers that bigger human antibodies can not. 

Because of their size and shape, these antibodies can be used to help diagnose and treat different brain diseases, lupus, arthritis, or psoriasis.

Also, recently, llamas saw a huge increase in popularity because of these antibodies. Scientists are examining how these antibodies can be used as effective therapies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 

This has also been a big reason why llamas have seen a fair share of eyes turned to them recently.

Looking to buy a llama in Texas? Check out this list of the best llama breeders in Texas.

Final Thoughts

Llamas have been popular animals for centuries: Inkas used them as pack, meat, and wool animals. Llamas are sought-after by livestock owners because they are excellent guard animals.  

Recently, llamas have been trending in medical science: their special nanobodies can be key to diagnosing and curing different diseases and viruses. Because of their funny looks, they are in demand among children, both as toys and amusement animals.

Some would call llamas a real meme.

We hope you found our article interesting and that we answered “why are llamas so popular” properly.

References

[1] Sams, Mona J., Elizabeth V. Fortney, and Stan Willenbring. “Occupational therapy incorporating animals for children with autism: A pilot investigation.” American Journal of Occupational Therapy 60.3 (2006): 268-274.

[2] Flajnik, Martin F., Nick Deschacht, and Serge Muyldermans. “A case of convergence: why did a simple alternative to canonical antibodies arise in sharks and camels?.” PLoS biology 9.8 (2011): e1001120.

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