Llamas are ruminants. This means that they have a complex stomach with several compartments that allows them to consume lower quality, high cellulose foods. The stomach compartments allow for fermentation of tough food stuffs, followed by regurgitation and rechewing. Unlike other ruminants who have four compartments (cows, sheep, goats), llamas have only three stomach compartments: the rumen, omasum, and abomasum.
In addition, the llama (and other camelids) have an extremely long and complex large intestine (colon). The large intestine's role in digestion is to reabsorb water, vitamins and electrolytes from food waste that is passing through it. The length of the llama's colon allows it to survive on much less water than other animals. This is a major advantage in arid climates where they live.
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Amsel, Sheri. "Llama Thoracic & Abdominal Organs (Right View)" Exploring Nature Educational Resource ©2005-2018. March 19, 2018
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