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Llama - Colchester Zoo, Colchester, Essex - Monday August 11th 2008.
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ~ The llama (Lama glama) is a South American camelid, widely used as a pack animal by the Incas and other natives of the Andes mountains. In South America llamas are still used as beasts of burden, as well as for the production of fiber and meat.

The height of a full-grown, full-size llama is between 5.5 feet (1.6 meters) to 6 feet (1.8 m) tall at the top of the head. They can weigh between approximately 280 pounds (127 kilograms) and 450 pounds (204 kilograms). At birth, a baby llama (called a cria) can weigh between 20 pounds (9 kilograms) to 30 pounds (14 kilograms). Llamas are very social animals and like to live with other llamas as a herd. Overall, the fiber produced by a llama is very soft and is naturally lanolin free. Llamas are intelligent and can learn simple tasks after a few repetitions. When using a pack, llamas can carry about 25%–30% of their body weight for several miles.

Llamas appear to have originated from the central plains of North America about 40 million years ago. They migrated to South America and Asia about 3 million years ago. By the end of the last ice age (10,000–12,000 years ago) camelids were extinct in North America. As of 2007, there were over 7 million llamas and alpacas in South America and, due to importation from South America in the late 20th century, there are now over 100,000 llamas and 6,500–7,000 alpacas in the US and Canada.

Classification ~ Although early writers compared llamas to sheep, their similarity to the camel was very soon recognized. They were included in the genus Camelus in the Systema Naturae of Linnaeus. They were, however, separated by Cuvier in 1800 under the name of llama along with the alpaca and the guanaco. Vicuñas are in genus Vicugna. The animals of the genus Lama are, with the two species of true camels, the sole existing representatives of a very distinct section of the Artiodactyla or even-toed ungulates, called Tylopoda, or "bump-footed," from the peculiar bumps on the soles of their feet, on which they tread. The Tylopoda consists of a single family, the Camelidae, and shares the Artiodactyla taxon with the Suina (pigs), the Tragulina (chevrotains), and the Pecora (ruminants). The Tylopoda have more or less affinity to each of the sister taxa, standing in some respects in a middle position between them, sharing some characteristics from each, but in others showing great special modifications not found in any of the other taxa.

The discoveries of a vast and previously unsuspected extinct fauna of the American continent of the Tertiary period, as interpreted by the palaeontologists Leidy, Cope, and Marsh, has thrown a flood of light upon the early history of this family, and upon its relations to other mammals. It is now known that llamas at one time were not confined to the part of the continent south of the Isthmus of Panama, as at the present day, since abundant llama-like remains have been found in Pleistocene deposits in the Rocky Mountains and in Central America. Some of the fossil llamas were much larger than current llamas. Some species remained North America during the last ice ages. North American llamas are categorized as a single extinct genus, Hemiauchenia. 25,000 years ago, llama-like animals would have been a common sight in modern-day California, Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Missouri, and Florida.

There are few groups of mammals for which the palaeontological history has been so satisfactorily demonstrated as the llama. Many camel-like animals exhibiting different genetic modifications and a gradual series of changes, coinciding with the antiquity of the deposits in which they are found, have been traced from the thoroughly differentiated species of the modern epoch down through the Pliocene to the early Miocene beds. Their characteristics became more general, and they lost those that especially distinguished them as Camelidae; hence they were classified as forms of the common ancestral Artiodactyl taxon.

No fossils of these earlier forms have been found in the Old World, leading to the hypothesis that the Americas were the original home of the Tylopoda, and that Old World camels migrated into the Old World from the Americas over the Bering land bridge. Gradually driven southward, perhaps by changes of climate, and having become isolated, they have undergone further special modifications. Meanwhile, those members of the family that remained in their original birthplace have become, through causes not clearly understood, restricted solely to the southern or most distant part of the continent.

Reproduction ~ Llamas have an unusual reproductive cycle for a large animal. Female llamas are induced ovulators. Through the act of mating, the female releases an egg and is often fertilized on the first attempt. Female llamas do not go into "heat" or have an estrus cycle.

Like humans, llama males and females mature sexually at different rates. Females reach puberty at approximately 12 months. However, males do not become sexually mature until approximately 3 years.

Mating ~ Llamas mate with the female in a kush (lying down) position, which is fairly unusual in a large animal. They mate for an extended period of time (20–45 minutes), also unusual in a large animal.

Gestation ~ The gestation period of a llama is 11 1/2 months (350 days). Dams (female llamas) do not lick off their babies, as they have an attached tongue which does not reach outside of the mouth more than half an inch. Rather, they will nuzzle and hum to their newborns.

i13designs, the-father, santapolero, and 155 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 20 more comments

  1. Dziobak (=Platypus) 80 months ago | reply

    looks like me on Friday (before my hairdress appointment)
    fantastic shot Kev
    You are invited to post your photo


  2. Connie Lemperle 80 months ago | reply

    What a cute hairdo and capture! They sure are cuties!
    You have been invited to add this image to Ultimate Shots!
    Ultimate Shot ~ Post Invited Images Only!
    Please add the tag "UltimateShot"

  3. Dark Spinner 80 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Phenomenal Picture Perfect (Invite only with 20 favorites), and we'd love to have this added to the group!

    Keven, I think you get all of those views because of your clever titles!! This is too much! You always brighten my day. Wonderful picture!

  4. Sërch 80 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Nature Green Star - Post 1, Award 3 (Lion Contest), and we'd love to have this added to the group!

    haha cute shot

  5. Anne Strickland 80 months ago | reply

    What a wonderful shot ! Thanks for the laugh (out loud!) this morning!
    Awesome, my friend!!

  6. jobee59 80 months ago | reply

    This is a smile breaker for sure!
    Seen in: Photographic Excellence 40+ faves

    Please tag this photo with 'Photoexel' and comment and fave 2

  7. Steve-h 80 months ago | reply

    I just showed this one to my wife - she hates the internet in general and flickr in partiuclar - and she really cracked up ! I don't think even your great pix will convert her, but it 's a start.

    You are invited to post this Masterpiece of Beauty and Quality to:
    Oracle of Beauty and Quality (Invite Only - 50+Fave)
    Please tag your photo "OBQ" - Pending Admin Approval

  8. Ryan Abbas 80 months ago | reply

    Great portrait! Now that's a face with a lot of character!

    I saw this phenomenal image in:
    PP Prefect (Invited Images Only)
     Phenomenal Picture Perfect (Invite only with 20 favorites)

  9. Sirrush 80 months ago | reply

    Adorible creature
    Thank you for the lovely comment and have a great weekend also

  10. clickMYworld 80 months ago | reply

    Wow, what a great and funny portrait shot !!!

  11. Nick John Ford 70 months ago | reply

    Hope you don't mind, I used this photo as reference for a quick sketch I did for a friend: apps.facebook.com/graffitiwall/show.php?rn=9a5f698b3f03f0...

  12. unmercifull_dralam 69 months ago | reply

    i invite you to share this cool photo in my new flick call



  13. sgbaughn 68 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called LMN8R - Theme of "The Living Face", and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  14. nocturnal_fuel 67 months ago | reply

    And I thought I had bad hair days...or is that his signature look?

  15. Nené ƸӜƷ (ausente) 61 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called INSECTOS Y ANIMALES ./insects and animals, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  16. Emotioned.com 51 months ago | reply

    We are working on a monthly travel and adventure sport competition, all winning entries will be published in an online magazine. Judge panel will selected from Flickr.

    There are 3 parts of the competition, 2 parts are currently under development:

    A Flick group called : - please submit your best photo here

    A website containing information on current judges and short-listed submissions

    The actual magazine name - to be announced

    If you would like to be a judge, please contact me

    This is completely free and run by volunteersa

  17. Parowan496 40 months ago | reply

    Well done - and a chuckle for me

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