Llamas and alpacas are camelids and are therefore similar in a number of ways, which includes their spitting behavior. Both llamas and alpacas spit at others in their herd, at predators, and even at humans, though the latter usually isn’t done intentionally.
Let’s break down the reasons why llamas and alpacas spit in more detail.
Why Alpacas and Llamas Spit at Humans
Alpacas and llamas rarely spit on humans, though it does happen occasionally if the animals feel distressed, annoyed, or threatened.
As alpacas and llamas usually first display other behaviors as a warning sign, it is unlikely to reach the point when they feel they must spit at a human. However, if treated as a pet when young, both animals might spit at a human as they consider them to be part of its social group.
The most likely reason why a human might be on the receiving end of alpaca or llama spit is simply bad luck. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time when alpacas and llamas are arguing and receiving a mouthful of spit can occasionally happen.
Why Alpacas and Llamas Spit at Each Other
Alpacas and llamas are herd animals and spit at each other to establish their social order. This is commonly seen when competing for food, or simply as bravado for a male to establish his dominance.
Female alpacas and llamas also spit at others as a form of communication, especially to let a male know that she is not receptive to his advances.
Spitting As Protection
Alpacas and llamas don’t necessarily have much to work with when it comes to keeping them safe from predators – at least compared to other animals – but their spitting behavior is actually pretty effective.
When in danger these animals can reach far down into their stomach compartment and spit a horrible smelling, green spitball at predators to give them the signal to back away.
What Does the Spit Smell and Look Like?
Alpaca and llama spit can be classified as either “good” or “bad”. Good spit comes from the mouth and is made up of just saliva. Bad spit, on the other hand, contains the animal’s stomach contents. Not only does this green spit smell horrific, but it also clings to hair and fur.
Do Llamas or Alpacas Spit More?
There is no discernible difference in the frequency that llamas and alpacas spit. If you see both groups of animals together, you may notice either one spitting more, but it would be down to the environment and specific circumstances at the moment you happen to see them.
Llamas are generally seen as more friendly than alpacas, though, so perhaps you could make a case that humans are more likely to be spat on by alpacas, though it would still be very rare and not without a good reason.