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."
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. Imprinting can be caused by bottle feeding and by isolation from other llamas. 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 bad behavior is usually limited to spitting and difficult handling.
Berserk llama syndrome can be prevented in males through castration before puberty.
Famous quotes containing the word syndrome:
“Women are taught that their main goal in life is to serve othersfirst men, and later, children. This prescription leads to enormous problems, for it is supposed to be carried out as if women did not have needs of their own, as if one could serve others without simultaneously attending to ones own interests and desires. Carried to its perfection, it produces the martyr syndrome or the smothering wife and mother.”
—Jean Baker Miller (20th century)