Two llama farmers near Truro have unveiled Europe’s first and only herd of miniature llamas.
After years of breeding and rearing, Tom and Julie Tripp of Llama Lland Llittle Llamas, formerly known as Llama Lland, in Shortlandsend have revealed their secret herd of miniature llamas.
The couple, who have owned one of the largest groups of full size llamas in the UK for more than a decade, bought 22 of the miniature animals from America five years ago.
Mr Tripp said: “We decided to import the miniature llamas mainly because we like llamas due to their temperaments.
“Some people get put off by llamas due to their size and we thought they might be more popular if we offered people some in a smaller package.”
Eager to acclimatise and increase the herd’s numbers, the llama farmers kept their miniature creatures a secret.
Now, more than 30 months since their small hoof’s first touched Cornish soil, Mr and Mrs Tripp are ready to invite visitors to the only see the only collection of miniature llamas this side of the pond.
The tiny breed was pioneered in the 1990s by farmers in America.
Breeders would pick the smallest llamas in their herd, or cloud, as a collection of llamas in known, to mate with each other in the hope of producing suitably small offspring.
Now, several generations later, the average miniature llama measures 3ft from its shoulder to the floor and is much smaller than its regular sized cousins.
For Mr Tripp both miniature and standard llamas make excellent pets for people with enough space.
He said: “Not a lot of people realise that llamas are really easy to get on with. They are relaxed, incredibly low maintenance and very resilient to illnesses.
The farmer also noted that the animals earn their keep by controlling grass and scrub land.
“Their favourite foods are prickly things such as blackthorn bushes, brambles, gorse and stinging nettles. They will eat grass and we feed them hay as well, but these aren’t their favourites,” added Mr Tripp.
Llama Lland Llittle Llamas will reopen in April, when people will be able to book full sized and miniature llama walks.
The couple are also selling miniature and standard size versions of the animals to buyers with a minimum of three other llamas and sufficient space.
Booking for llama walks is essential and can be made by calling Tom Tripp on 07999 542 463, or 01872 540 465, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.