Two ginormous llamas are now resting comfortably in their pens after taking a wild romp through Sun City, Arizona on Thursday – but not before they melted the hearts of millions around the globe and galloped into instant Internet fame.
They prompted everything from the headline “Llamas on Llam Llose Llawmen” on one website to this snarky comment: “This is Arizona. How did it take that long to find someone with a lasso?”
The animals – which were finally lassoed by helpful onlookers – had their own Twitter hashtag within a nanosecond, #LlamasonTheLoose, as well as the news media in a state of fevered frenzy about the llama chase. Twitter buzzed with the bemused “What is the world coming to?” to the opportunistic “Those #LlamasonTheLoose from yesterday could have benefitted from some running shoes. Should have checked out modells.com.”
The two llamas, who belong to former police officers, dodged startled drivers and local law enforcement for an hour or more after they escaped from a trailer on the grounds of an assisted living facility. They’d been taken there on a therapy visit to a former llama rancher.
Turns out there’s a whole llama business most of us didn’t know about before now. Take a llong llingering llook at this llama llist:
- Llamas need to get their nails trimmed regularly. (Who knew?)
- Vogue has a llama vertical.
- Llamas can distinguish between a family dog and the neighbor’s dog – or a predatory animal.
- One way they communicate is by humming.
- Llamas have three stomachs. And because they eat grass, weeds and almost everything else green, they’re cheaper to feed than dogs or cats.
- Llama metabolism is similar to that of a human diabetic. It’s why the Oregon State College of Veterinary Medicine is using a herd of 30 llamas and alpacas to study how hormones affect blood sugar.
- You can find llamas on the protest line. If overloaded they’ll lie down and gripe.
- People buy llamas to start a small business. Some use them for wool to make clothes and rugs, while most of the industry is engaged in breeding and showing. The sensible, calming creatures are often used as therapy animals.
- High-quality alpacas can cost $20,000 to $50,000 each – while a high-quality llama can go for a fraction of that.
- There were 76,086 llamas in the U.S. as of 2012, according to the USDA Agricultural Census. (The number of alpacas, closely related to llamas, was 140,601 in 2012.)
- Llamas are larger than alpacas, while alpacas generally produce more wool per animal than llamas.
- Maricopa County, Arizona, where this week’s llama drama occurred, has 115 llamas.
- But the “llama capital” of the country is Morrill County, Nebraska – clocking in with 913 llamas. The other top counties in the U.S. for llamas are Washoe County, Nevada; Clackamas County, Oregon; and Teller County, Colorado.
- Llama population centers are in Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Wisconsin and several states along the two coasts.
- Llamas, a South American relative of the camel, live for 15-25 years.
- In some South American communities, llama excrement is dried and burned for fuel. Leather is also made from their hides; some people eat their meat.
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