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Berserk llama syndrome

Berserk llama syndrome or berserk male syndrome (as it is more pronounced in males) is a psychological condition suffered by human-raised llamas and alpacas that can cause them to exhibit dangerously aggressive behavior toward humans. The term has been overused, however, and is sometimes inappropriately applied to llamas with aggressive personalities that are not truly "berserk".[1][2]

The condition is a result of the llama imprinting on its human handlers to such a degree that it considers them to be fellow llamas.[3] Imprinting can be caused by bottle feeding and by isolation from other llamas.[1] Adult male inter-llama interaction can be rough, including chest-ramming and biting, and they are strongly territorial. Male llamas suffering from this condition become dangerous when this behavior is directed toward humans and they usually have to be euthanised. Female llamas can also suffer from berserk llama syndrome but their behavior is usually limited to spitting and difficult handling.[3]

Berserk llama syndrome can be prevented in males through castration before puberty.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Berserk Male Syndrome". (via the Internet Archive). 1997-09-21. Archived from the original on 2007-06-29. Retrieved 2007-06-29.
  2. ^ "Problematic behavior in llamas and misdirected territorial aggression". Lost Creek Llamas. Archived from the original on 2007-11-01. Retrieved 2007-10-16.
  3. ^ a b "20 What is Berserk Male Syndrome?". 2007-09-11. Retrieved 2007-10-16.
  4. ^ "Berserk llama attacks woman in Central Oregon". Associated Press. 2007-09-13. Archived from the original on 2007-10-31. Retrieved 2007-10-16.