A pair of sprightly llamas jigged their way to immediate social media stardom after they led dozens of US police a merry dance on the bemused streets of Phoenix, Arizona.
The duo, one white and the other black, had the eyes of the world on them as American media transmitted live footage from the air of them darting across busy roads and parking lots in their brazen — and for an hour successful — attempt at evading capture.
Their run for freedom in Sun City, a Phoenix suburb, after numerous hapless attempts at capture by police and startled members of the public failed, finally ended when first the black one was lassoed and taken in, followed soon after by the companion, when it was cornered and gave up the game.
They were whisked away in a trailer without putting up a fight, but were already minor celebrities by then.
Twitter lit up after their heroics, with #whitellama, #llamas, #teamllama and ##llamadrama all trending.
Disney joined in the fun, tweeting a cartoon picture of a defiant-looking llama with the words, “Llama drama.”
Quick-thinking Twitter users launched a spoof account on behalf of the llamas, @SunCityLlamas, tweeting: “Wow. We’re famous.”
Police said it was three onlookers who finally caught up with the runaway animals.
The llamas escaped after a rancher brought them to an assisted living facility to visit an ex-llama rancher as a form of animal therapy, Lieutenant Brandon Jones, of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, told local media.
Jones said the animals were spooked when the door of the trailer that was transporting them to the site opened. There were actually three llamas in the trailer, but only two ran for it.
Their bolt for freedom earned the admiration of the Internet.
One Twitter user, @devincf, wrote: “Thank you to the #llamas for helping everybody forget, briefly, that we are all going to die some day.”
Another, @mikezoller, tweeted: “Whoever said 24 hour news was a bad thing didn’t get 2 llama cams this afternoon.”
The Arizona Cardinals, the nearby NFL football team, got in on the fun, tweeting: The #AZCardinals have agreed to one-year deals with the #llamasontheloose. Each llama will earn 2,340 lbs of hay.”
For more on the original story, see Discovery Magazine online here: