Tuesday 27 Sep 2016

Laughing Llamas
Matt Seinberg

We all know that kids say the darndest things according to the late Art Linkletter. My younger daughter Melissa is no exception to this rule. At 13, she is a very funny kid with a wicked sense of humor. She gives it out as well as she takes it, and she is not afraid to say what is on her mind.

She's always asking me when I'm going to write about her. Well Melissa, here is a column mostly about you.

The other night, I asked Melissa to find me some fun facts about llamas. Llamas you ask for two good questions. For some reason a number of months ago, Melissa started to imitate what she said was a llama sound.

I did a search for llamas, and found pictures and some audio of them making their sounds. Melissa actually was pretty close to that sound, so I was moderately impressed. How she does it that is the funny part. She holds her top lip with two fingers from one hand, and the bottom lip with two fingers from the other hand, wiggles her tongue and makes this sound.

I started to do it back to her, but it's hard to do it when laughing very hard. Even Michelle thought it was funny, and she sometimes did it too.

Marcy on the other hand didn't like it, so that's all the more reason to continue doing it. There is nothing more satisfying for Melissa than annoying Mom with something she doesn't like. Again, I was laughing so hard that I couldn't join in.

All that llama talk flashed me back to when I was a kid of five or six and my parents and grandparents took me to a game farm where they had llamas! Somewhere I have a picture of me in a red rain slicker standing next to Larry the llama. Yes, his name was Larry and that was on the sign next to his pen.

Here are some fun facts about llamas?

1) Llamas are large animals, up to six feet tall at the head and weigh anywhere from 280 to 450 pounds;

2) Wool, which is black, gray, white or brown, in a variety of patterns, covers the body of the llama;

3) Llamas with short fur coats are Ccara and medium-length fur coats are Curaca;

4) Llamas have elongated faces, large nostrils and long ears, shaped like bananas that curve inward;

5) Llamas have excellent senses, sight, smell and hearing, used for the detection of potential danger;

6) Llamas have an inherited fear of coyotes, mountain lions, wolves and other dog like animals.

7) Llamas are sometimes used as "guards" for sheep because the quickly alert and protect the herd when the spot a predator;

8) Llamas are social animals, living in herds up to twenty;

9) Llamas live between 20 and 30 years.

9) A pregnancy in a llama lasts 11 1/2 months and ends with a single baby; usually, they birth in the morning hours and the baby will be able to run with the rest of the herd by the evening;

11) Llamas are very intelligent, but stubborn animals; if the load on its back is to heavy, it will refuse to carry it until some of it is removed;

12) Llamas are herbivores, eating only plants, grass and ferns; on a farm, they can eat up to six pounds of hay a day;

13) Llamas have two toes on each foot with a leathery pad underneath.

There you have it. Everything you needed to know about llamas, but didn't really care to ask, all because Melissa likes to make strange noises. The apple doesn't fall from the tree.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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