Adult llamas can carry approximately 20% of their body weight. Add to this the fact that llamas are very surefooted too, it’s no wonder that they make fantastic pack animals that can be used in challenging terrain that other animals struggle with.
Due to the llamas’ unique characteristics as well as the heavy loads that they can carry, they had a key to play in Peru during the Incan Empire where transportation throughout the Andes was necessary.
How Much Weight Can a Llama Carry?
As mentioned, adult llamas can carry approximately 20% of their body weight. So if we take a fully grown llama that typically weighs anywhere between 280-450 lbs, this means that a llama can carry 55-90 pounds for 6-12 miles each day.
Compared to another popular pack animal, the donkey, a llama can carry less weight. Both can carry approximately the same percentage of their body weight, but a fully grown donkey can weigh as much as 1,100 pounds and is therefore able to carry more.
A fun fact regarding how much weight a llama can carry is that if you place too much weight on a llama, it will either lie down or stubbornly refuse to move at all. A llama knowing its limits is definitely a good thing for anyone planning to use one for packing.
Can a Llama Carry a Person?
Now that we know that a llama can carry 55-90 pounds, we also know that a llama would therefore be unable to support the weight of a male or female human adult. Carrying a child is a different proposition, though.
Depending on the child’s and llama’s weight, a llama would be able to carry a child, though this probably wouldn’t be a good idea unless the llama has been trained to be ridden.
Why Llamas Make Great Pack Animals
It isn’t just the fact that llamas are able to carry heavy loads across rough and challenging terrain that makes them great pack animals. Llamas make pretty much the perfect pack animals for the following reasons:
- Cooperative: Llamas might naturally be curious and intelligent but they are also cooperative and can be handled by people of all ages and experiences. The friendly, social, calm nature of llamas make them a joy to handle
- Self-Sufficient: Llamas are very self-sufficient animals that will happily forage on the surroundings. This means that there is no need to pack in feed for them, though you might want to bring along a few tasty treats
- Sure-Footed: A llama’s foot is composed of a pad that gives them more sensation and better contact with the ground than any animal with hooves. This means that llamas can get a good grip on rough, hilly terrain
- Light-Footed: Due to llamas’ uniquely structured, soft padded feet, they cause minimal damage to the environment they are in, and won’t wear down a path as other animals might do
How to Choose the Best Llama for Carrying Heavy Weights
Choosing the best llama for carrying heavy weights or for packing purposes is simple if you know what to look out for.
The best llamas for carrying heavy loads are very athletic, strong, tall short wool ccara llamas. They should have been bred, raised, trained, and conditioned for packing. This also means that they aren’t cheap to buy.