The animal on the cover of Learning Perl, Fourth Edition is a llama,a relation of the
camel native to the Andean range. Also included in this llamoid group is the
domestic alpaca and their wild ancestors, the guanaco and the vicuna. Bones found
in ancient human settlements suggest that domestication of the alpaca and llama
dates back 4,500 years. In 1531,when Spanish conquistadors overran the Inca
Empire in the high Andes, they found both animals present in great numbers. These
llamas are suited for high mountain life; their hemoglobin can take in more oxygen
than that of other mammals.
Llamas can weigh up to 300 pounds and are mainly used as beasts of burden. A
packtrain may contain several hundred animals and can travel up to 20 miles per
day. Llamas will carry loads up to 50 pounds, but have a tendency to be shorttempered
and resort to spitting and biting to demonstrate displeasure. To the people
of the Andes, llamas also provide meat, wool for clothing, hides for leather, and fat for candles. Their wool can also be braided into rope and rugs, and their dried dung is used for fuel.