Life at Llama Land
Just a few miles away from the hustle and bustle of Truro, there's Penare Farm. But this is not home to your everyday animals like cows, sheep and pigs. The Tripp family look after around 70 llamas. BBC Cornwall went along to find out more...
Twenty years ago Julie Tripp has a chance meeting with a llama at an agricultural show in Australia. Now in 2009 she looks after more than 70!
"There was this great big pen of llamas. One stuck his head out. I looked at him, he looked at me, fluttered his eye lashes, and it was love at first sight," laughs Julie.
"I bought my first pair of llamas about ten years ago," remembers Julie. "I told my husband they were going to be my pets. Because he was a sheep farmer, I said to him they'd be perfect to look after his animals."
It certainly did the trick, as over the next ten years Julie's hobby grew into a full time job.
Freddy the Llama
"Our llamas are part of the family and our children have had great pleasure in naming each and every one of them."
At birth, a baby llama (called a cria) can weigh between 20lb to 30 lb. Llamas are very social animals and like to live in a herd.
Llamas are believe to have originated from North America about 40 million years ago.
They can be walked on a lead, be taught to pull a cart, or even to give children rides, yet they are equally happy left on their own, enlivening the landscape.
Looking at a llama they appear to be similar to camels. Genetically they are linked as 'animal cousins'.
Back at Penare Farm the Tripp family are preparing for more llama births.
"Llamas can delay their birth for up to 13 months. They know when the weather is going to be fair. And they have very sociable labours, as they will only have babies in the daylight," smiles Julie.
Although Llama Land isn't open everyday to the public, the family do stage open days for schools, and groups. In the near future Julie hopes to hold trekking days too.
Close up of a Llama
"Llama trekking will be fun. You get to know your chosen llama, then we go trekking with them, and have a picnic," smiles Julie.
Many people love their pets, be it a dog, cat or...a llama.
"Llamas make great companion animals," says Julie. "They will protect other livestock, and can live for 20 years plus."
The Tripp family are busier than ever advising people who fancy owning a llama.
"We are happy to give advice on llamas, as it is an important decision when selecting and buying them," says Julie.
"Prospective owners are encouraged to handle the animals before they leave the premises to their new homes."
Julie and the rest of the Tripp family are hoping in the future to open on selected days to the public. The next open day at Llama Land will be on Sunday 5 July 2009.
last updated: 27/05/2009 at 13:16
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