Today’s cuppa recognizes a new bit of info I learned yesterday. There’s such a thing as Berserk Llama Syndrome.

Berserk Llama Syndrome happens when a juvenile (typically male; it’s rare with females) llama imprints on humans and starts to consider them to be llamas. Upon maturity, the llama then tries to assert its dominance over the humans (other llamas, from the llama’s point of view) through aggression; biting, chest-ramming, charging, even sneaking up from behind and attacking.

Juvenile llamas typically imprint on humans when they interact with them through bottle feeding or because they are isolated from other llamas. Berserk Llama Syndrome isn’t common, and it’s not something that happens in the wild. It’s a rare, unhappy outcome of human-llama interaction.

The term Berserk Llama Syndrome is good for a chuckle; it conjures up images of llamas gone wild. But the sad reality is that the syndrome is a response to an unnatural situation, a reaction to circumstances the llama cannot control. The llama is just doing its llama thing.

Additionally sobering is the fact that there is no cure for Berserk Llama Syndrome. In severe cases, llamas exhibiting this behavior are euthanized due to the danger they pose to their human handlers.

Llamas are becoming more common on farms and ranches, joining other livestock such as sheep and horses due to the usefulness of their fur and their ability to serve as transport animals. It’s important, then, to understand llama behavior and use that information to guide the way llamas are raised and managed. A practical solution; better for llamas, better for humans.

After all, going berserk is an indication that something is off-kilter, out of whack. Prevent or eliminate the problem, and the more likely outcome is happy success. A “win-win,” as they say, for everyone and everything involved.

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