Ok, I know the A to Z challenge is over and I failed. But I am determined to see this through…so on to W.
Llamas are excellent guard animals. They are used to guard other ungulates, such as sheep, goats cows and alpacas, as well as our feathered poultry friends. That’s the reason I got one in the first place. Then I got a second to keep the first company. 🙂
Although they are normally quiet, don’t get one riled up. And they will get riled up if they see predators like coyotes, dogs and foxes skulking around.
Initially, they will give predators the stare down with those llovely llama eyes. They will stand straight up and stare down the intruder. If that doesn’t work, they may give a shrill alarm call and spit. They will also try to herd their flock away from the predator. Llamas are normally very passive, but when they need to, they will fight. They will chase an intruder and strike at it with their front legs. Usually they are just trying to run the predator off, not kill it.
Most of the time the llama’s size and warning signals are enough to cause any would-be troublemakers to slink away. But there is one predator who is not deterred by llamas: those wiley, wiley wolves can be trouble for llamas.
Wolves hunt in packs
Wolves, unlike coyotes, hunt in packs. And therein lies the problem. Although guanacos can fight off wolves, my reading suggests that llamas can be overwhelmed by wolf packs. In 2002-2003, a wolf pack in the Ninemile Valley (near Yellowstone) went on a llama killing spree (in addition to sheep and dogs) and killed 5 llamas. And various reports on the internet suggest that llamas cannot control wolves. Despite this, in 2013, Sweden started a pilot program to use llamas to protect sheep herds from wolves. I’m thinking it might not have gone well since I can’t find anything more about it.
If you want to use a llama to protect against wolves, some suggest pairing it with a donkey, which is far more aggressive.. Hey llama girls, maybe we want to keep that donkey around?
Blogging my way from A to Z as part of the 2016 April A to Z Challenge! My theme for this year: Llama mama. W for Wolves.
Photo courtesy of Angell Williams.