It’s interesting to note that llamas have gained significant popularity in the past few decades. Llamas, like their relatives the camel and alpaca, are known for their gentle nature. They’re also incredibly easy to care for and train, and their wool can be quite lucrative. Also, unlike cows and horses, they don’t require a lot of room. Given the numerous advantages, it’s no wonder that many small farmers and homesteaders are becoming increasingly interested in these adorable and endearing creatures. On the other hand, llamas can sometimes display behavior that is not sweet and cuddly. In this article, a Wichita, KS veterinarian discusses the drama llamas can sometimes bring and provides helpful tips on preventing it.

What Exactly Is Berserk Llama Syndrome?

Berserk Llama Syndrome is a condition observed in camelids that have been raised by humans. Even though it’s referred to as BLS, alpacas can also be affected by it.

In essence, the term refers to assertive or occasionally unfavorable conduct in llamas. That includes things like spitting, kicking, shoving, and screaming. It happens most often in males that haven’t been fixed, but sometimes females will act up too.

Llamas generally do not bite, although it is not completely uncommon.

Despite being labeled as Berserk Llama Syndrome, BLS really is simply typical llama behavior. Improper handling and socialization are often the main culprits behind this issue. It’s also worth noting that Llamas are generally calm and peaceful, unless they perceive a threat. 

Do Llamas Enjoy Being Petted?

Not really.

Many llamas are generally comfortable with being petted by humans they are familiar with. In fact, they can develop strong attachments to their human companions. Just be prepared to exercise patience when interacting with llamas, as they may take their time to warm up to you.

However, llamas prefer not to be touched on the face or head, and they are not particularly fond of hugs. While llamas may tolerate these things, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will understand that you are showing them affection.

There are a few things that come into play here.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that llamas can become easily frightened. Similar to other animals, llamas possess an innate fight-or-flight instinct. They will almost always choose to take flight if presented with a threat. Occasionally, they may also become completely immobile. However, sometimes they do opt for ‘fight’. This is typically where the negative behavior comes into play.

Why Do Llamas Spit?

Typically, llamas primarily spit at one another to assert their dominance within the herd. Moar llamas do not spit at people without provocation. You could consider this a sort of protective mechanism. After all, being sprayed with llama spit is a pretty unpleasant experience, as it contains stomach contents. (It isn’t exactly fun for the llama, either.) 

That said, if you plan to keep llamas, it’s a good idea to learn about their body language. For instance, some llamas may perceive extended eye contact as a threat.

Do All Llamas Display Aggressive Behavior?

Absolutely not. One reason for their growing popularity is their generally sweet and docile nature.

Nevertheless, it is crucial for individuals contemplating llama ownership to be aware of the potential consequences that may arise from improper handling of these animals. Ask your Wichita, KS for more information.

Do Llamas Have a More Friendly Demeanor Than Alpacas?

Usually, though they are quite similar in many ways. Alpacas have not been domesticated for as long, so they generally are more reserved. However, each animal has its own unique characteristics.

If you are considering the two options, it’s worth noting that alpacas are smaller in size, yet equally adorable.

How Can I Prevent Bls?

Your best bet is simple: proper handling of llamas right from birth. 

One common mistake that people often make is being overly affectionate with baby llamas, also known as crias. We understand, they are incredibly adorable, and it can be difficult to resist pampering them. However, that’s where the trap is. If you give a baby llama too much attention, it will begin to perceive you as one of its own, despite your peculiar (to it) appearance. That sounds delightful, doesn’t it? Regrettably, this will lead to complications in the future, as your wooly companion will mistakenly perceive you as another member of the herd and treat you accordingly. This is where kicking, screaming, and spitting can come into play.


According to certain llama experts, showing affection towards a cria can have severe negative consequences, and can potentially result in dangerous behavior. If a llama cannot be handled safely, it may, sadly, end up being euthanized. 

This can be quite perplexing for individuals who are familiar with the horse world, as it may contradict what they have previously learned. Handling newborn foals is commonly regarded as a good tactic. Llamas are wired very differently, so the opposite actually applies here.

It’s important to mention that, as stated earlier, it is most commonly observed in intact males. It is generally recommended to have your studs gelded, unless, of course, you have an interest in breeding.

What Is The Appropriate Way To Handle A Cria?

There’s definitely a sweet spot. We’re not saying you should never handle or interact with crias. Avoiding any interaction may result in llamas that are not accustomed to being handled.  For instance, you might find it necessary tobottle-feedd your baby llamas. It’s just important to strike a balance when it comes to interacting with your llamas. 

Effective training is crucial. Llamas should be comfortable with being haltered and handled, having their feet touched, and going into catch pens or chutes. This goes beyond petiquette, even if your llamas are going to be treated as pets. When dealing with a sick or injured llama, it is crucial to ensure their safe handling.

If you have no prior experience with camelids, it would be beneficial to thoroughly research this topic. Learning about how llamas communicate is another thing that is well worth your time. You’ll also want to get to know your llamas and learn to identify what their various hums and noises mean.)

How Can One Effectively Discipline A Llama?

As with other animals, it’s important to be patient, consistent, and firm. Some llamas respond well to a firm verbal reprimand, like a loud and stern ‘No!’, to effectively communicate the message. A gentle tap may be effective, but you should never, ever hit an animal with force. Another option to consider is using a water gun, which can be seen as a way of communicating with llamas in a manner that they understand.

Do Llamas Get Lonely?

Indeed, llamas are highly sociable creatures and thrive when they have a companion by their side. Picking the right pasture mates is important. Unneutered males can become quite territorial, resulting in potential issues. And, while they don’t require much acreage, you want to avoid overcrowding your llamas on a small farm.

How Do I Keep My Llamas Happy And Avoid Llama Drama?

Proper care should suffice in most cases. Like with other animals, good nutrition is crucial. Llamas thrive when provided with ample pasturage, although they can also consume grain or hay. Having a clean and comfortable barn or shelter and access to fresh water is also important. Your llamas will also need routine visits from your Wichita, KS veterinarian.

Schedule An Appointment At Our Wichita, KS Animal Clinic

Do you need any information or guidance regarding llama care? Are you in need of a top-notch veterinarian nearby? Contact us at your Wichita, KS pet clinic, today!