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The llama (Lama glama) is a South American animal that is related to camels. These domesticated mammals possess thick and long hair that comes in a variety of colors, including white, brown, black, red and even mottled. Llamas do not reside in wild environments, but are maintained all over the world for mercantile purposes.
Geography of the Llama
Although llamas hail originally from the Andes region of South America, their current scope goes far beyond that. Llamas live all over the planet -- in Australia, Europe and North America. On the South American continent, these herbivorous pack animals are not an uncommon sight in countries such as Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Bolivia and Chile. They are particularly prevalent in Peru.
Natural Habitat of the Llama
Llamas come from western South America's rugged mountainous areas, more specifically plateaus and mountains that exceed 10,000 feet in elevation. The native environment for llamas is very open and grassy. The air is extremely thin in these high elevations, and llamas fortunately have specialized blood that is capable of handling landscapes with such little oxygen. Llama blood contains very high amounts of hemoglobin, and because of that it can maintain oxygen levels very efficiently.
Llamas Living on Farms
Llamas no longer inhabit the wild, although they are not uncommon in farm and ranch environments all over the world. In the western region of the United States, for example, llamas are sometimes used to protect farm animals -- such as sheep and cattle -- from the clutches of dangerous predators.
Llamas and Commerce
Captive llamas are employed for a variety of different reasons and purposes, indicates Animal Diversity Web of the University of Michigan. Their dense wool, for instance, is a commodity. They even occasionally function as golf caddies and simple rural pets. Bizarrely enough, their fecal matter -- once burnt -- can even be utilized for the production of fuel. For durations of around half a day, the pack creatures also have the ability to transport upwards of 200 pounds of materials at a time, according to the Pittsburgh Zoo.
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