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FAQ - Do Llamas Attract Bears?

Bear Busters!

"Do llamas attract bears?" This is a frequently asked question (FAQ), especially during the summer months. Bears have been known to attack llamas but our experience has been that llamas don't attract bears anymore than other pets or pack stock.

In fact the llama's "alarm call" may act as a good deterrent for bears. Llamas are instinctively alert and aware of their surroundings, and usually draw attention to an intruder by making a startling "alarm call" when it senses danger. A llama is usually aware of a bear long before we can see or hear it and will let off their "alarm call" when the unwanted intruder is around. Click on the YouTube link to hear our Raul llama making an alarm call - Llama Alarm Call 

However, I would not recommend leaving llamas tied out unattended while camping. In that situation llamas would not be able to defend themselves from predators such as bears or even an aggressive dog. Even in suburban areas such as Anchorage, there are both brown and black bears. We have used an electric fence for many years that works well to keep the bears and other predators away.

In Alaska hikers and walkers should always be "bear aware" and take some type of bear deterrent, whether that be bear spray or a gun. The debate goes on as to which is more effective against a bear. Here's an interesting article on the effectiveness of bear spray - Shoot or Spray? The Best Way to Stop a Charging Bear. And of course no deterrent is effective if not readily available. So whatever you choose as a bear deterrent, be sure you can easily access it when needed. This ADN article provides helpful information on how to effectively use bear spray. How to Use Bear Spray Effectively.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game website has some good tips on bear safety when traveling in bear country-
  • Make noise so you don't surprise a bear. Stay alert and look for signs of bears.
  • Never approach or crowd bears; respect their "personal space."
  • Keep food, garbage and other attractants out of reach of bears.
  • Stay calm during a bear encounter, talk and wave your arms. Don't run.
For more info, go to the ADF&G website (excerpt below)  - ADF&G website - Living With Bears
Living With Bears

brown bear and two cubsOne thing that makes Alaska unique is that all three species of North American bears flourish here. It is not uncommon for residents or visitors to Alaska to see bears, usually from a safe distance. But even if you don't see a bear, you will never be far from one; Alaska is bear country.

By learning about the lives of black bears, brown bears (including grizzly), or polar bears, you will enhance your enjoyment of these species and help minimize human-bear conflicts. Whether you are learning about bears for the purpose of hunting, viewing, traveling safely, or deterring bears from your property, the more you know the better.

More Reading:
Afraid of bears? There are far more dangerous things in the Alaska outdoors