Llama sounds

What kind of sounds do they make?

Llamas make quite a variety of sounds. The most common sound is a humming noise. A female will hum to her cria, which seems to reassure the baby that mom is still around. If an animal is unsure about what is going on, such as being penned up, it may issue a “worried” hum.

Mother’s hum - AIF format (14k)

This is a newborn cria’s hum.

Baby hum - AIF format (18k)

This is the same cria humming to mom and mom answering back.

Baby and mom hum - AIF format (47)

This is mom, a little bit concerned, calling to the cria.

Mom hum - AIF format (27k)

Kahaila, who is seven months old, has been weaned for a week or so and mom is on the other side of the fence. They are humming to each other, Kachina first, then Kahaila. It is not as if they don’t have lots of company, but they sound pathetic. If we don’t separate them the babies will often nurse for a year if their mothers will let them.

Mom and weaned daughter hum - AIF format (39k)

This is Beverly’s “Why am I stuck in the barn, waiting for the vet?” hum.

Unsure hum - AIF format (51k)

This is Beverly’s “I am getting impatient and worried” hum.

Worried hum - AIF format (20k)

This is not a common sound, it is a very low-pitched hum which sounds like a growl. Sarah was very disgusted with us because we put her in a stall with her day-old cria. It was a nasty evening with high winds and heavy rain, in fact the rain on the metal roof almost drowns out Sarah in this clip so you can understand why they are spending the night in the barn.

Growling - AIF format (81k)

Males will make a very strange sound while they are breeding which is called an “orgle”. They will sometimes make this sound if there is an open female on the other side of the fence. A breeding will typically last twenty minutes and will often go longer, with the male orgling continuously. All of the other females will gather by the fence to see what is going on as soon as they hear an orgle. Often the male is quite attentive to the female during the breeding process, nibbling lightly on her ears and rubbing her neck with his front feet. The female, on the other hand, usually looks completely bored and will sometimes eat grass, occassionally looking around at the male, as if to say “Aren’t you done yet?”

Naturally this orgling sound will get the attention of every male on the farm, which can cause a ruckus in some of the other fields. To try to keep them all happy, one day we had five studs all breeding at the same time.

Orgle - AIF format (101k)

Each male has a slightly different orgle. The previous orgle was Lazo who was actually trying to pursuade Beverly to lie down. She didn’t but he was certainly trying, and eventually gave up. The next recording is Conquistador breeding Socorra. He was also having his toes trimmed at the time. This is often the easiest time to work on the male’s feet as his mind is completely occupied and doesn’t even seem to notice the manicuring.

Orgle - AIF format (56k)

If a llama perceives a danger, such as a strange dog or a coyote, they will make an alarm call which warns the rest of the herd. In the wild, a male guanaco will find a high vantage point to watch over his herd of females and if he spots a puma, will start alarm calling. Moments later every male in the vicinity will be alarm calling.

Male Alarm - AIF format (57k)

Females will occasionally make an alarm call. The next sound is Sarah Barnart alarm calling when she saw a deer grazing on the other side of her fence. The female alarm is usually not quite as loud as the male’s, but we have a couple of females who can compete quite well with the males.

Female Alarm - AIF format (57k)

Male llamas will make a snorting noise at each other which seems to mean something like “You are lucky I can’t get over this fence . . .”. Snorting is often the prelude to a fight.

Snort - AIF format (10k)

Females will sometimes make a “clucking” sound at a male over the fence. As far as I can figure, it seems to mean “Back off! Don’t even think about it!” This is Beverly clucking at Lazo.

Clucking - AIF format (41k)

With head up, ears back, tail up, sometimes a female will add some emphasis on it by clucking followed by a snort.

Clucking and Snort - AIF format (78k)

If a couple of males decide to have a fight, they will start screaming at each other and can make an impressive amount of noise. A number of years ago some neighbours who live about a quarter of a mile away, thought that we were killing pigs judging by the racket going on when one male found a weak spot in the fence. You don’t want to get in between a couple of full-grown males when they get into a fight. These two went through the next fence as if it wasn’t even there. The one-by-four fence boards just snapped off when hit by the llama’s chest. A lot of biting each other’s legs, screaming, and neck wrestling goes into a show like this but eventually they will tire themselves out and they can be separated while the fences are being repaired.

In our “Field of Screams”, Pizarro shares a common fence with his father and every once in a while decides that he should be the boss llama. This is his father, Canadian Ambassador, screaming at him.

Fight - AIF format (14k)

A male can really scream when fighting or when having something done that he doesn’t like. In this case Lazo was upset at having his toes trimmed!

Scream - AIF format (23k)

Yes, “Spit happens!” A couple of geldings were having a territorial dispute so I rushed out and held out the microphone for a while. By the time I was finished there were green spots spattered on the tape recorder. At least you are able to hear what it sounds like without the smell.

Spit - AIF format (5k)

Listen to more llama sounds

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29343 Galahad Crescent
Mount Lehman
British Columbia
Canada V4X 2E4

Phone: 604-856-3196
E-mail address: brianp@smartt.com

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