[ONE] Llamas are actually members of the camelid family and are related to camels! It’s thought that the ancestors of llamas made their way to South America around 3 million years ago and were domesticated around 4,000-5,000 years ago by indigenous folks in the Peruvian highlands.
[TWO] They have been used as pack animals for thousands of years. Many llamas can carry about a quarter of their weight (around 70-110 pounds) on a 10-12 mile trek with almost no problems and others can carry smaller weights for longer treks. While they’re often willing to be pack animals, they do know their limits and will lie down or refuse to move if over-packed.
[THREE] In addition to being pack animals, llamas also produce wool and their poop is often used as fertilizer for gardens and as fuel for fires. Turning the fleece into usable yarn involves quite a few steps but llama fleece can be used in many different projects!
[FOUR] Llamas are also smart, kind, and sometimes used as therapy animals. Rojo the llama is one such therapy animal in parts of southwest Washington and the Portland, OR area and with some friends, he has brought joy, love, and happiness to stressed college students, elderly folks at nursing homes, and many others! With a couple other llamas and alpacas, he’s also worked at weddings!
[FIVE] Some farmers also used llamas as guard animals for their sheep, as they’re fierce and incredibly social. Even until his death, Shasta was fiercely protective of his two sheep friends and chased off the occasional coyote!