1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Llama

LLAMA, the Spanish modification of the Peruvian name of the larger of the two domesticated members of the camel-tribe indigenous to South America. The llama (Lama huanacus glama) is a domesticated derivative of the wild guanaco, which has been bred as a beast of burden. Chiefly found in southern Peru, it generally attains a larger size than the guanaco, and is usually white or spotted with brown or black, and sometimes altogether black. The following account by Augustin de Zarate was given in 1544:

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“In places where there is no snow, the natives want water, and to supply this they fill the skins of sheep with water and make other living sheep carry them, for, it must be remarked, these sheep of Peru are large enough to serve as beasts of burden. They can carry about one hundred pounds or more, and the Spaniards used to ride them, and they would go four or five leagues a day. When they are weary they lie down upon the ground, and as there are no means of making them get up, either by beating or assisting them, the load must of necessity be taken off. When there is a man on one of them, if the beast is tired and urged to go on, he turns his head round, and discharges his saliva, which has an unpleasant odour, into the rider’s face. These animals are of great use and profit to their masters, for their wool is very good and fine, particularly that of the species called pacas, which have very long fleeces; and the expense of their food is trifling, as a handful of maize suffices them, and they can go four or five days without water. Their flesh is as good as that of the fat sheep of Castile. There are now public shambles for the sale of their flesh in all parts of Peru, which was not the case when the Spaniards came first; for when one Indian had killed a sheep his neighbours came and took what they wanted, and then another Indian killed a sheep in his turn.”

The disagreeable habit of spitting is common to all the group.

In a wide sense the term “llama” is used to designate all the South American Camelidae. (See Tylopoda.)