Llama Attacks

Llamas may look silly, but they can be formidable. When used as guards for sheep, they've been known to kick coyotes to death. In a recent attack, a Texas man was kicked, boxed, bitten and thrown. He needed more than 700 stitches.

Like other members of the camel family, llamas have cleft palates and long necks. Their hooves, such as they are, ride high, the same way our toenails do; they walk on the bottoms of their two toes. They are cud-chewers with triple stomachs. Sometimes they hock cud-riddled loogies from deep within that complicated gut—a way of disciplining herd-mates or people. Their red blood cells are oval—most mammals have disk-shaped cells.

Experts claim attacks on people usually happen only if the llama has been reared with too much human contact. It comes to see people as herd-mates and may feel the need to rise above them in the pecking order. That may be what happened in this Texas case. Or it may be the llama perceived the man as a threat.

More about llamas as guard animals.



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