Gwen (fishingcat)

Gwen (fishingcat)

Posted on 07/08/2015


Photo taken on April 29, 2015


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Flehmen response

Flehmen response
All llamas may flehmen at dung piles and occasionally other items (probably things that have a similar smell, a finding that we humans would be fully ignorant of). However, it is most common in adult intact males inspecting dung piles and processing the scent for Important Information (sex of the other llamas and their likelihood of being interested in mating with him). The second most common occurrence is when any llama gains access to a new pasture with dung of unfamiliar llamas, as Koa has just done here. He's inhaling deeply into his Jacobson's organ (something we humans don't have) and memorizing all the information he can about who left that pile (how many, what sex, etc). If he later encounters those llamas, he'll then use that information wisely (oops, these are the land owners and I'd better be nice ... or if he were older, HA, the land-owners, I'm gonna whup their butts).

During flehmen, the head is held with the nose straight up in the air and the head wiggles and rotates, presumably to move as many scent molecules to the target as possible. The tail also may jerk up and/or wag, depending on whether the information found brings on the emotions that lead to such tail language.

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Gwen (fishingcat)
Gwen (fishingcat)
koa flehmen GWN 9338

Another angle ...
2 years ago.
Gwen (fishingcat)
Gwen (fishingcat)
koa post-flehmen GWN 9337

Post-flehmen posture — not an attractive look; the kind of face your mother admonished you for, lest it freeze that way. :-)

The recently-flehmening llama jerks his/her nose up and also jerks his/her jaw repeatedy, again likely part of better processing the scent molecules. This is usually just a pause in the action rather than signifying that the llama is finished with flehmen. Koa in fact went back for more scent.
2 years ago. Edited 2 years ago.