|A Few Fun Facts About These Curious Creatures|
· Llamas are members of the camelid, or camel, family.
· Camelids first appeared on the Central Plains of North America about 40 million years ago. About 3 million years ago, llamas' ancestors migrated to South America.
· Llamas were first domesticated and used as pack animals 4,000 to 5,000 years ago by Indians in the Peruvian highlands.
· Llamas are hardy and well suited to harsh environments.
· Llamas are smart and easy to train.
· Llamas weigh 280 to 450 pounds and can carry about a quarter of their body weight, so a 400-pound male llama can carry about 100 pounds on a trek of 10 to 12 miles with no problem.
· Llamas are vegetarians and have efficient digestive systems.
· Llamas live to be about 20 years old.
· Llamas are social animals and prefer to live with other llamas or herd animals.
· Llamas don't bite. They spit when they're agitated, but that's mostly at each other.
· The current population of llamas and alpacas in South America is estimated to be about 7 million, and there are about 20,000-25,000 llamas and 800-1,000 alpacas in the U.S. and Canada today.
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Photograph by Kim Knox Beckius, (c) 2001, licensed to About.com, Inc.