When l was at Tenerife Sur zoo on one particular day the male llama had a skin problem that needed a check. Bidel, one of the male keepers and l had to hold the llama for the vet to examine.
At some point my other half turned up as he was having as quiet day and was standing chatting to Paco (zoo owner and manager). Bidel and l cornered and grabbed the llama and the vet examined him, muttering under his breath. When he had done he moved out of the way to talk to Paco. At this point, the idea was that Bidel and l would push the llama sideways and run like hell out of spitting range.
All went to plan, we pushed and l got half way through my initial leap when Paco shouted my name. Paco and everyone else denied he said anything, l have always called them liars. I KNOW what l heard, and there is no other reason l would have done what l did.
I stopped, thinking OMG what has happened, l spun round and said “Yes?”
The llama was waiting just for that moment, it was only about 3 feet away and it could not miss. he spat and got me full face.
The thing about llamas is that they are members of the camelid family (camel), if you upset said member they spit at you. Spit is actually to neutral a term. The stomach contents l am sure, are especially rotted into a fetid mess that is stored for moments such as this. I can not believe anything would actually want to let that lot go through it’s intestines.
The putrid mess was blasted into my nose, mouth and hair. It rolled down my face. More was sucked into my nose and mouth as l choked and at the same time tried to stop breathing. The fetid journey continued down my top. I tried to brush it off but this just ground it into me. Gravity sucked at the mess and it travelled down my legs to the ground.
By now Paco, hub, vet and Bidel were rolling hysterically and complaining about the smell. I turned and headed for the animal kitchen, snatched the bottle of washing up liquid, hurdled a hedge to get to Maria the gardener who looked wide eyed at the stinking choking female, who was trying not to throw up. I grabbed the hose, pouring washing up liquid and water over me.
I took at least an hour to get the bulk of it off. I did not care about water waste (normally l am fussy about water) or that people were looking in bemusement at me, under a hose, surrounded by soap suds, while a group of people now including Maria passed helpful advice while trying to stop laughing. Several members of the public stayed and joined in with the group.
It took about a week or so for me to stop getting wiffs of the smell. I don’t know if it was real, or just a memory of the smell. I do know that the dogs were not keen on coming near me for the first couple of days. I slept on the settee as l did not want to ruin the bed and bedding.
If you ever upset a member of the camelid family, get the hell out of there and do not look back, no matter what.