Llama Transportation

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3 llamas in a cage on a pickup

Llamas are easy to transport and readily adapt to a variety of existing options. They can be hauled in a stock rack mounted in the back of a truck, in a stock trailer, under a camper shell, or inside a van. The llamas' controlled demeanor, athleticism, and size are assets that produce this flexibility. They prefer to lay down when traveling, minimizing movement and lowering their center of gravity, both aiding ease of travel. The choice of conveyance is determined by a combination of factors including the number of llamas to be transported, distance and time required for transport, road conditions/weather, and transport options available.

A pickup truck with a stock rack (minimum 48" sides) is the simplest and most economical method of transport. It works well for shorter trips of 2-4 hrs. A full-sized ½ or ¾ ton truck can haul up to 4 mature pack llamas for a 2-3 hour ride on improved roads. Longer distances, inclement weather, or unimproved roads may require a reduction in the number of llamas hauled, additional weather-proofing, or both. Trained llamas are able to jump onto the bed of a truck without the assistance of ramps. (The bed needs to be covered with a carpet or mat to provide a non-slip surface for the llamas to jump onto or off of. Llamas will jump with confidence if they are sure of their footing. Steel truck beds are quite slippery, making llamas unwilling to jump onto them.) A truck and rack is the most versatile conveyance for trips that include rough, narrow, or steep backcountry roads. It is an uncomplicated and economical method and readily available. (Buckhorn Llama Co. rents racks for large and small trucks.) The main limitation is having adequate space for all the people, animals, and equipment involved with larger groups. Additional vehicles may be required for people and equipment.

If llamas are to be hauled long distances or larger numbers of animals are to be hauled than can comfortably fit in a truck rack, stock trailers or properly adapted utility trailers work well. Enclosed or covered trailers are ideal for longer trips involving cross country travel on state and interstate highways. Protection from weather, noise, and road hazards, as well as having room to change position are important in these situations and they are provided with an enclosed trailer. In ideal trailer situations, with ample room for animals to stand, move around, and feed, llamas can stay on a trailer for 2 days or more without unloading. Open utility trailers may be used effectively for shorter trips. They need to have sides a minimum of 48" in height with a solid front side to protect from kickback and road spray from the towing vehicle. Dual axle trailers provide a smoother ride and are a necessity for long trips.

With additional training and exposure, individual llamas can be transported under camper shells, in small vans, and even in large sedans. These methods all have limited space and comfort, thus they are restricted to short trips with offloading at frequent intervals to allow the llama to move and stretch. These methods are not ideal and are considered stopgap. We recommend a truck with a rack or trailer as best for the llama(s) being hauled.

Llamas have been trained to readily ride in planes, helicopters, and small boats for specialty backcountry and management applications.

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