There are many misconceptions about llama spitting. It’s a social behavior that is often exaggerated for reasons we as an organization dedicated to llama health and welfare don’t quite understand.
Here’s what you should know: · When properly raised in a healthy herd environment, it is rare for a llama to spit at a person. We see it when the llama was handled excessively during its first two years of development – petting, hugging, bottle feeding, or over-handling. Also when a llama is restrained during veterinary exams, where the animal is unable to flee, spitting may occur as a stress and defense mechanism.
· Spit happens between llamas to establish pecking order, when a llama is encroaching on another llama’s space, or when they’re having a quarrel. A llama’s social status in the herd is ever-shifting. When feeding llamas, it’s recommended to have a least one hay-feeding station more than the number in the herd. Some will share, but having an extra feeding station gives them an ability to establish a personal space; thereby, lessening the potential for conflict.
· Llama spit is nasty; and as shown in the photo, it’s not a pleasant taste or smell for the llama sending or receiving. It’s basically regurgitated hay – green and wet – up from their three stomach compartments.