WENTWORTH, Mo. (KOAM) - A Missouri ranch family says one of their llamas is naturally protective, and has become a fierce "watchdog."
The llama, known as Tony Llama, is very territorial, and was clearly perfect for the job. Sam Hayes, the rancher out of Wentworth, says Tony can be counted on to make sure nothing harms his family's herd of cattle, or his family members themselves.
"It's just whenever he's threatened, if he doesn't know you or sometimes even if he does, he just protects the property," Sam said.
One time, Sam said he had to distract Tony so electrical crews could work on utility poles. Another time, the Hayes family saw a car in the area, but it left in no time when Tony Llama made his presence known.
"As I turned the corner, the car was gone," Hayes said, "but there was Tony with his head over the fence looking up and down the road, like, 'Where did it go?' and that was pretty comforting, really."
Karen Hayes, another rancher, said Tony has kept the coyotes away, and there haven't been any calves taken as prey ever since Tony took charge.
"I've never been attacked. I've been spit on before," she said. "I had to completely take another shower. It was pretty bad."
Kyle Hayes said he carries a stick in case he has a feisty encounter with Tony Llama.
"He'll run at you and he usually lowers his head down parallel with his body, but then whenever he gets up to you, he'll kind of puff up his chest more," Kyle explained. "If he really wants to attack you, he'll stand up on his hind legs. He's about 8 or 9 feet tall whenever he does that…it's really intimidating."