Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 827 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: it!
LLAMA, the Spanish modification of the Peruvian name of the larger of the two domesticated members of the camel- tribe indigenous to South America. The llama (Lama huanacus glama) is a domesticated derivative of the wild guanaco, which has been bred as a beast of burden. Chiefly found in southern Peru, it generally attains a larger size than the guanaco, and is usually white or spotted with brown or black, and some-times altogether black. The following account by Augustin de Zarate was given in 1544: " In places where there is no snow, the natives want water, and to supply this they fill the skins of sheep with water and make other living sheep carry them, for, it must be re- marked, these sheep of Peru are large enough to serve as beasts of burden. They can carry about one hundred pounds or more, and the Spaniards used to ride them, and they would go four or five leagues a day. When they are weary they lie down upon the ground, and as there are no means of making them get up, either by beating or assisting them, the load must of necessity be taken off. When there is a man on one of them, if the beast is tired and urged to go on, he turns his head round, and discharges his saliva, which has an un- to Cape York; a smaller species, common in New Guinea and Australia, is V. gouldi. They all are predaceous, powerful creatures, with a partiality for eggs. Their own eggs are laid in hollow trees, or buried in the sand. The young are prettily spotted with white and black ocelli, but the coloration of the adult is mostly very plain. The following families are much degraded in conformity with their, in most cases, subterranean life. They are of doubtful relationships and contain each but a few species. Family 17. Pygopodidae.—Pleurodont, snake-shaped, covered with roundish, imbricating scales. Tail long and brittle. Fore-limbs absent; hind-limbs transformed into a pair of scale-covered flaps. Tongue slightly forked. Eyes functional but devoid of movable lids. Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea. Pygopus, e.g. P. lepidopus, about 2 ft. long, two-thirds belonging to the tail, distributed over the whole of Australia. Lialis burtoni, of similar size and distribution, has the hind-limbs reduced to very small, narrow appendages. The members of this family seem to lead a snake-like life, not subterranean, and some are said to eat other lizards. L. jicari, from the Fly river, has a very snake-like appearance, with a long, pointed snout like certain tree-snakes, but with an easily visible ear-opening; their eyelids are reduced to a ring which is composed of two or three rows of small scales. (H. F. G.)
End of Article: LLAMA

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.