Mountain Lions, Dogs &
The mountain lion is an all too common predator in llama and alpaca pastures in the western part of the United States. It's also known as the cougar, puma, or panther and is the largest wildcat in North America. Mountain lions can leap as far as40 feet and as high as 15 feet. They have powerful claws to rip their prey apart.
Dogs are no longer pets,
but Predators when allowed to roam in our pastures!
"Although pasture predator problems differ in various parts of the country, the roaming neighborhood dog has perhaps done the most damage in llama and alpaca pastures. Whenever I see a stray dog, I think of this! This is a reminder that Dogs are no longer "pets", but Predators when allowed to roam.
The photo above is the result of 3 rottweilers digging under a fence. This male llama luckily survived with weeks of intensive care. It took about 8 hours to clean and flush these wounds - the legs and chest and belly were in the same shape. This happened several years ago, and you can still see the scars.
- The other photos are from other dog attacks on llamas. In reality, dogs are the number one preditor for our llamas.
"While we do always blame the irresponsible dog owners, and while they are indeed blameworthy and should be held responsible for the damage their dogs do, any reparations they make, or killing their dogs, does not bring back the poor, frightened, killed animals, or relieve the emotional pain of victims' owners. So what is the best possible way to avoid such tragedies? In our opinion we, as lama owners, should just face up to this: The danger from the dogs of irresponsible owners is a fact of life, just like danger from other things we have no control over--cars on the road, mountain lions, bears, rattlesnakes, lightening strikes, idiot hunters and whatever else. What do we do against these dangers? We fence our llamas in so they can't get out on the road. People who live in lion or bear country shut their lamas in safe barns at night and/or have high fences with electric wire at the top, and they may have good large guard dogs, too. In rattlesnake areas people remove wood or brush piles that tend to make good places for the snakes to live, and they keep guinea hens or other fowl good at killing or deterring snakes. People who have their llamas in hunting areas put blaze orange collars on their llamas during hunting season.
So, in the case of dangerous dogs, WE should take on the responsibility of doing whatever we can to protect our precious animals from these predators. How? By putting up fences to keep those dogs OUT. Put tall enough field fence tight to the ground. The standard 47" high fence is usually enough. If necessary run an electric fence wire around the outside, too, about 6 inches off the ground, especially where some dogs may try to dig under a fence. Another electric wire at the top also helps prevent larger dogs from jumping up and over. We have heard one couple who even buried chicken wire along the outside of their fence to keep dogs from digging under in soft mountain turf - pretty extreme, but it worked.
Anybody who inquires about buying llamas from us gets questioned about the area in which they live and what kind of fences they have. Are loose dogs apt to roam the neighborhood? And they get told the fact that over the years, in the whole llama community, domestic dogs have proved to be THE greatest danger to llamas. We know a lot of people don't like to hear this, but given this fact, it is our contention that we, the lama owners, are even more responsible for the safety of our animals than the owners of predatory dogs. Let's face it, many dogs are predators, so we need to do everything we can to protect our animals from them."
Bobra Goldsmith, Rocky Mountain Llamas