Like most animals, including most mammals, llamas have tails. The tail of a llama is primarily used for social signaling. A llama’s tail, whether it is up, curled forward, or wagging can communicate several important things.
What Does a Llama’s Tail Look Like?
A llama’s tail is set right off the end of its back, which differs from the tail of an alpaca that is sloped down from its back.
A llama’s tail can vary in color from black, white, brown, and gray, as well as from spotted to speckled. The color of the tail reflects whatever color the llama is.
Once a llama has reached full maturity, its tail measures approximately 12 inches in length.
How a Llama Use Its Tail to Communicate
- Tail Up: A llama with a raised tail can mean different things, depending on its age and gender. If a male llama raises its tail, he is making himself look bigger to establish dominance or to try to woo a female llama. If a baby llama (also known as a cria) raises its tail, it is a sign of submission and that the baby poses no threat and should not be harmed. More generally speaking, though, a raised tail simply signifies that a llama is in an alert state.
- Tail Curled Forward: When a llama’s tail is curled forward, it signals that the animal is comfortable, relaxed, and therefore is in a non-aggressive state.
- Tail Wagging: When a male llama wags its tail, it means that it is excited. When a female llama wags its tail, especially if the tail is wagged in front of a male’s face, it’s a sign that the male should back off because she doesn’t want to mate.