Have you ever seen a llama kush? No, not play with those weirdly elastic koosh balls. I’ve never seen them kicking one around the pasture.
I’m talking about the kush position.
The llama kush
Kush refers to the position a llama takes when it lays down upright.
Llamas only have two knees – one in each of the front legs. Their back legs are only jointed at the hips. Therefore, when a llama wants to lay down, it first bends down and kneels on its front legs then it brings its back legs up under its stomach. It’s an awkward, accordion folding kind of process. The llama ends up with all four legs tucked underneath it.
If you see a pasture with llamas in it, you will probably see some of them in the kush position chewing their cud. Llamas kush when they are happy and relaxed. In addition, females kush when they are accepting a male. In fact, llamas (and alpacas, I suppose) are some of the few large animals that mate laying down.
Kushing doesn’t always happen when a llama is relaxed. Llamas will also kush when they are stressed, like when I tried to cut their toenails yesterday. Trust me, it’s not fun having a 350 pound llama try and kush on you when you are bending down under them! Another thing I’ve learned is that they will kush if you try to take them on a walk and they don’t want to go (been there, down that).
Kushing is handy
Besides being cute and sometimes annoying, there are advantages to the way llamas lay down. One of the biggest is trailering them. Because llamas kush in trailers, you can actually drive them around in a minivan (without the seats, of course)! That’s how Widget came to us. You can also teach them to kush on command. This can help you groom the top of large llamas or, as I found out the hard way, allow you to work with their feet without breaking your back. If they are getting overly excited, you can tell them to kush to help calm them down.
And if your llucky enough, a llama will spontaneously kush near you – that means he trusts you.
Blogging my way from A to Z as part of the 2016 April A to Z Challenge! My theme for this year: Llama mama. K for Kush.