Why Do Llamas Spit? Is It Dangerous For Humans?

Martha Martins
Oct 06, 2023 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Oct 11, 2021
A small llama in appearance.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.4 Min

Llamas spit as a means of communication, to show dominance and self-defense as they feel threatened. Though the spit doesn't cause any lasting physical damage, it can be dangerous for those who don't know how to react.

The spitting of saliva by a llama is a natural response to an irritation to the mouth, throat, or nose. This reflex is sometimes triggered by things like dust or chewing on something that's too tough.

It does not carry any health risks for humans. The spit is usually dry but may contain some stomach acid. It's not dangerous for humans, but can be annoying if it gets in your eyes or mouth.

The llama, or guanacos, are domesticated animals that are related to camels and spitting incidents are usually accidental or as self-defense, as they feel threatened where it acts as a guard to them. Spit happens when they eat too fast, or if they're startled by something in the environment.

Both male or female llama spit to mark their territory and to show dominance.

The saliva contains a type of natural antibiotic, so it's unlikely for a llama to get sick from the spitting process.

Llama spit when they're irritated with each other, when they're fighting over food, or just because they feel like it. These animal spits are not dangerous for humans in most cases, but they can be unpleasant if you get spit into your eyes.

So, it’s better you do not make eye contact with these animals. Sometimes, llama spit is actually a sign of contentment and happiness.

Besides this, they can also produce different noises according to their feelings, like they can make a high-pitched not noise to warn the other llamas about the danger they see coming to them.

Also, they don't vomit mostly, only very rarely, which is one of the interesting facts about them.

Find more facts about llama animals and their spit here, including how they do it and if it is dangerous or not? You may also like reading why do sloths move so slow and why do goats faint on our website.

Do llamas and alpacas spit?

Have you ever seen llamas and alpacas spit? They do so but it is not exactly spitting!

It's true! Llamas and Alpaca spit, but not exactly. It is a process where they expel a forceful stream of air from their lungs, which may contain a small amount of mucus or saliva and this tells you why do llamas spit? Llamas and alpacas spit depending on a number of factors.

How far can llamas spit?

Llamas can spit up to 10 ft (3 m)! It is unbelievable but true!

According to most sources, the distance of the llamas can vary depending on who's doing the spit be it a male or a female, but it's generally around 5-8 ft (1.5-2.4 m) and can extend up to 10 ft (3 m), depending upon various factors, like food.

It can vary depending on what they're eating, how much water they drink, and the size of their mouth.

Goofy llama looking at camera.

When do llamas spit?

Llama spitting is very often! There are various reasons for when they do so?

The llama does not produce cud for chewing, so the process indirectly serves as a way of clearing its mouth as they regurgitate. Llamas usually spit when they feel threatened or stressed.

It's called spitting, and llamas do it when they are stressed, but usually not in front of humans. Llamas spit at people when they are threatened where it acts as a defense guard, and they do so to mark their territory.

Do alpacas or llamas spit more?

Ever wonder which animal llamas or alpacas spit more? The answer may surprise you.

The answer is both, llamas and alpacas. They both spit to show dominance or to rid themselves of excess salt. Alpacas spit more often because they are herd animals, and need to establish.

But, you might be surprised to hear that llamas spit more than alpacas. A llama, be it a male or female llama, on average, spits anywhere between 16 times a day up to 480 times a day. Alpacas, on the other hand, only spit about three to eight times.

Why do llamas spit at you?

There are many reasons why llamas spit, but mostly as they are threatened and want to guard themselves!

The llama is a domesticated animal that belongs to the camel’s family group and is a member of those species. This animal is hunted for its wool, flesh, hides, and dung which are used as fuel. The llama's intent is to warn an intruder.

It's a way of saying, 'This is my territory. Leave now! ', And, they will spit at people as it is their behavior to show dominance to them.

Does it hurt when llamas spit at you?

A llama might be dangerous for a human!

The llama produces a foul-smelling liquid that it sprays on other animals or humans. The liquid is sticky and can have a strong odor.

There are many theories about why llamas spit, but the true reason remains unknown. When a llama spits, it doesn't hurt. The spit is either swallowed or spat out, and the llama spit at a human to give them a warning about their territory.

Do llamas spit at each other?

Is it true that llamas spit at each other? Well, Yes it's true, they do it for social bonding!

The llama is a part of the camels family as it is related to this group, but it is much smaller and has a more pointed nose. It also has furry ears, while the camels only have one.

The llama's scientific name is called Lama Glama. Just like a llama can spit at humans, they can do it on other llama animals, but they don't do it often.

Llamas spit at each other as a form of social bonding to their pack animals, but they don't do it all the time. It's a way for llamas to show authority over an animal that is higher in rank.

How do you stop a llama from spitting?

The spit of the llama can be stopped, just give the llamas enough space!

Llamas do spit when they feel their personal space is in danger like when they are kept in a herd in zoos, be it anywhere in the world. You must give them enough personal space and think of things that can help you to not be spat on by them.

Sometimes, taking them to a farmland in the fresh air, and avoid hanging or loading things on them, plus avoid putting any clothing on to give them enough personal space.

Can llamas vomit?

Llamas can vomit, but it is not a common occurrence for them to do so!

Llamas rarely vomit. These creatures are ruminants, which means they have a stomach with multiple compartments. The stomach is divided into four sections, the rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum. Llamas are herbivores, which means they eat only green plants from farmland as their food.

They cannot vomit. However, these creatures usually regurgitate food and stuff themselves until they are too full to eat anymore. And when they do so they may vomit out.

How do llamas sound?

Llama makes a variety of sounds, depending on what they're feeling at the time. Llama's vocalizations can range from a deep, throaty 'crawk' to a highly raised pitch!

Llamas are very vocal animals, and will often make a variety of sounds and that depends upon how they are feeling at the time. The llama raises its voice to communicate with one another, alerting other llamas to potential dangers that might be there.

The llama raises its neck and makes a sound such that it can easily reach the ears of other llamas.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly factsfor everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for why do llamas spit then why not take a look at why do coyotes howl, or Huacaya Alpaca Facts.

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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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