Llamas that spend too much time around humans are prone to BERSERK LLAMA SYNDROME. Such llamas believe that humans are fellow llamas, and sneak up behind them to attack.

Berserk Male Syndrome in Llamas

Since I used the term “berserk male syndrome” in an article on llama training, there has been much discussion and misunderstanding of the phenomenon.

I want to stress that the classic berserk syndrome is quite rare. It seems to be the end result of a series of confusing and negative interactions with humans, beginning with the breakdown of the normal stand-offishness that herd raised llamas show in their relationships with humans.

A male llama that has been bottle fed or constantly petted and fondled as a baby will show no hesitation about initiating contact with humans, as in the mild case of the pushy llama who runs up to be petted or bumps with his chest against people in the pasture with him. Such a llama is apt to be pushed or … Continue Reading (2 minute read)

13 thoughts on “Llamas that spend too much time around humans are prone to BERSERK LLAMA SYNDROME. Such llamas believe that humans are fellow llamas, and sneak up behind them to attack.”

  1. Send your llamas away to live with wolverines (or bears or badgers, etc) at least six months per year. Gentles them down, teaches them manners.

  2. Kinda sounds similar to teenage chimps going ballistic on their owners.

  3. Okay. So. A friend of ours is a rodeo contractor (He provides the bulls, bucking horses, sheep for mutton busting, etc). His wife buys a bunch of llamas for a Llama Mamma race. I had camped the rodeo grounds (Our friend owns his own arena) that weekend because I vend horse tack as a side gig.

    So… one of the top hands is out there, in the arena, minding his own business at daylight the second day… I’m having my coffee and watching. The llamas are in the arena too. Dude is checking the gates and chutes… and he’s not paying attention… annnnd two of the biggest llamas are flanking him, all sneaky like, about 10 yards behind him. He’d stop and check something… they’d move in closer. Stop if he looked at them.

    Rinse… repeat… until they had him boxed in and one bit him in the ass. It was all so horribly fascinating, I couldn’t stop watching, neither did I bother to warn him. It was high entertainment for an early morning.

    I retell this story because the one time I told it here at Reddit, I had the llama lovers and llama armchair experts try to tell me llamas never, ever would engage in this type of behavior.

    Yes, they damn sure will. I’ve seen it.

    Also, our rodeo contractor friend still has them, 18 months later, and he said: They are mean as shit. I don’t mess with them. They have the run of the place.

    This from the guy that can stare down pissed off bucking bulls and wild cow milking cows…

  4. I had a llama with this condition. You could never turn your back to him and kept a newspaper with you for self defense.

    We sent him to a llama farm.

    It got really sucky because he was very affectionate as a baby, but just got aggressive as an adult and adult lamas can get 400+ lbs.

  5. It’s not too much time around humans, it’s too much time as the only llama around humans.

    It’s why anyone buying llamas is advised to buy at least two at first. It’s a bad situation to own just one llama. With two, they recognize each other as llamas/herd and humans different. Without two, they don’t make that distinction and so try to do herd-dominance things with the humans. Needless to say, that goes bad.

  6. Veterinary student here – don’t know much about llamas but this is why dairy bulls are particularly dangerous. Dairy bulls are raised by humans and so believe that humans are equals and are not hesitant to challenge humans. Beef bulls are raised by their mothers in a pasture typically and are not nearly as dangerous. Dairy bulls are one of the most dangerous domestic animals someone could interact with.

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