Why do llamas spit

Llamas and Alpacas do spit and the most common idea as to the reason behind the phenomenon is that they spit in self-defense. However, this is not entirely true; llamas do not spit at people or anything else for self defense alone. Spitting is a gesture for llamas which they originally use with each other. A male llama spits at other llamas in order to declare its superior rank in the herd. Llamas that aspire to be the leader of the herd often engage in such spitting with other males, followed by neck wrestling and chest slamming. The fights are not meant to do serious damages, but just declare superiority. Female llamas also spit at the other members, but they usually do it to communicate and direct the llamas under them.

A llama may also spit at a human, and the reason may also be the same. Whether a llama will spit at a human being or not, mostly depends on how it is raised. The problem is that when a llama is bottle-fed as a calf and treated like part of the family from its early days, it actually begins to think of the humans as family. Although the animal may love humans like its own herd, it also begins to behave with the humans as it would with other llamas, and thus the spitting, kicking and neck wrestling is directed towards the humans as well. If you handle and come in close contact with young llamas a lot, then the llama will naturally consider you to be family and therein lays the chance that it might start spitting at humans when it grows up, therefore you would have to avoid being very close to the llama if you want to avoid it.

Llamas sometime spit when they feel scared or annoyed as well, in fact, the more a llama is upset, the deeper it will reach into its tri-part stomach to draw out digesting food to spit at the source of the irritation. Llamas especially feel threatened by humans when they are kept in inappropriate conditions within a petting zoo and it is in these places that a few incidents may happen where an ill-kept llama spat at an approaching human in fear. Llamas are intelligent and social creatures, so it is necessary that they be treated properly and with love.