If you’ve ever been near a llama, you may have wondered why they spit so much. And if you haven’t been near one, you may be wondering what llama spit is made of.
Why do Llamas Spit?
Llamas occasionally spit on one another. It’s a sign of annoyance or displeasure with other llamas.
Spitting is one of many llama methods of communication.
Female llamas may spit at males who are getting too familiar with them. Llamas from all ages and genders spit at each other as a display of dominance and to establish their social hierarchy.
Spitting is a defensive behavior that llamas utilize when they feel threatened, whether by predators or humans.
Llamas that spit on humans were most likely raised by humans and have had little interaction with other llamas. When this happens, they regard people as they do other llamas.
A llama generally won’t spit at people unless it is mistreated if you educate it well and give it time to socialize with other llamas. In fact, properly-trained llamas are typically very nice and polite creatures.
So, what is llama spit made of?
Llama spit is made up of saliva, food, and whatever else they have in their mouths.
When they chew their cud (a process of regurgitating food to re-chew), they mix it with saliva.
When a Llama is threatened of distressed it will regurgitate some food from it’s stomach and spit it at the threat.
While this llama spit will not harm you or other animals, it is highly pungent.
Llama’s do not like to spit this pungent mix of stomach contents at others as it is not a pleasant experience for them.
They will often show other behaviours to show their displeasure first such as if the llama’s ears are pinned back and they stare at you.
How to Avoid Being Spat on by a Llama
If you’re planning on visiting a llama farm or sanctuary, there are a few things you can do to avoid being spit on:
- Wear long sleeves and pants to avoid being spit on by accident.
- Avoid sudden movements around llamas, as they may be startled and spit at you.
- Don’t put your face in a llama’s face, as they may see it as a threat.
- If you’re interacting with a llama, be sure to give it time to get used to you before trying to pet it.
Fun Facts about Llamas
- Llamas are members of the camel family
- Llamas are native to South America and were first domesticated by the Inca civilization.
- There are two types of llamas: the common llama and the vicuna. Vicunas are smaller and have very fine wool. Llamas can be used as pack animals, for their wool, and for their meat.
- Llamas typically live for about 15 to 25 years.
- The largest recorded llama was over 700 pounds and stood over six feet tall at the shoulder!
Llamas are interesting creatures with a long history of domestication.
Though they may spit at you, if you treat them well they can make for enjoyable companions.
Just be sure to take some precautions and follow the tips above, and you’ll be sure to have a llama-spit free visit!