Llamas: The Potato Chips of Pets


Susan Morgan with Lord Greystone, a miniature llama, at her farm in Hastings, Minn.
Photo: Caroline Yang/The New York Times | More at NY Times gallery

Forget dogs! Here comes the new hip pet: llama.

As Jennifer A. Kingson wrote in this entertaining article over at The New York Times, llamas are like the "potato chips" of pets. You can't have just one:

People who keep llamas as pets will readily offer you any number of reasons: llamas are quiet, they’re gentle and affectionate, they don’t take a lot of work to maintain and, for outdoor animals, they don’t smell bad.

But it’s more than that. Look at a llama and it’ll gaze back sympathetically with those huge, beguiling eyes, ears perked up, looking for all the world like it understands you and really cares about your problems.

Most people start with two or three, since llamas are sociable and don’t like to live alone. But as Katrina Capasso, a llama owner in Ballston Spa, N.Y., discovered, “They’re like potato chips.” It’s hard to stop at just a few. Ms. Capasso, 49, received her first llama as a wedding gift from her husband, Gary, in 1990. Now she has 55.

Oh, and they hum. Yes, they hum:

Llamas are generally quiet, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make any noise. When a male is interested in a female, or mating, he makes a noise that sounds a bit like gargling. (Llama people call this an orgle.) Female llamas make clicking sounds. And all llamas hum; in particular, mothers hum to their babies, which hum back.

It’s part of the bonding process, said Susan Morgan, 54, a home-care nurse in Hastings, Minn., who breeds miniature llamas with her husband, George, 56, an engineer. “They recognize each other by the hum,” she said. Two months after one of her females gave birth, Ms. Morgan said, they were still humming at each other.

Her husband said he gets a lot of questions about it. “People come up to me and ask, ‘Why are the llamas humming?’ ” he said. “And I’ll say, ‘Because they don’t know the words.’ ”

Read the rest over at the New York Times: Link

Here's a YouTube clip of a llama humming:


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