Freedom

We Are All Llamas Now: A Thrilling, Furry Chase in Arizona

On Thursday afternoon, a pair of escaped llamas led Arizona authorities on a merry chase. The Internet went rightly, completely nuts.

02.27.15 12:55 AM ET

Hours later, long after the final, successful lasso had been thrown—and in a heartening nod to humanity’s curiosity—“Llamawatch” was still victorious above “Jihadi John” in Thursday’s top Twitter searches.

We wanted to know more about the escape, and eventual capture, of a couple of llamas in a Phoenix suburb than the alleged identity of a piece of vicious, murderous scum.

The llamas—one large and white, the other smaller and black—had reportedly broken free from a show-and-tell at a retirement community (anywhere there are llama show-and-tells is somewhere I could very happily retire to). They were, it was reported, part of a mobile petting zoo.

Very mobile, as it turned out.

The footage of their escape, captured by local news station ABC15, was part Thelma and Louise, part The Swimmer, as the two creatures darted this way and that, on freeways, neighboring roads, in the blazing sunshine, and in the mottled shade of trees.

They went on dirt roads, and into suburban-looking neighborhoods, they skirted high fences and verdant patches of green. And they were smart. Every time a van nudged into them or tried to cut off an escape route, they nimbly evaded capture.

Every time a human or group of humans approached with restraining apparatus, or arms outstretched ready to grab them, they were out of there.

It was joyous and it was nail-biting. As in all good outlaw movies, our heroes were separated, only—in a moment of sheer exhilaration—to be reunited. The little black llama was caught first, and then the large white one was finally lassoed—and, quite properly, was then walked victoriously through the streets into a truck.

Watching, we still hoped for the bookend to see the llamas break free again and head off into the Arizona sunset.

But it was not to be: All that awaited them was the most loving and affectionate kind of Internet infamy, with one of the llamas grafted onto Kim Kardashian’s “Break the Internet” magazine cover; claims that the white llama would receive probation while the black one would be jailed; and then, with the ranks of red lights of police cars behind them, their heads visible and proud as Thelma and Louise at the end of that movie.

The llamas showed Twitter at its funniest, sweetest, and pun-iest. Will there be a llamas backlash? We can but hope not. Happyplace collected the best moments of the excitement under the headline “Llama Chase MMXV.” Ronan Farrow sexy-tweeted: “Lama in the streets, llama in the sheets.”

The two llamas, names as yet unknown, are back in the care of their owners, ABC15 reported, but fame surely beckons. Who will get Friday morning’s exclusive interview? Matt Lauer or Robin Roberts? No matter. For a gorgeous half-hour on Thursday, the llamas didn’t need PR or producers, and Twitter discovered its new favorite outlaws. They were furry—and boy, could they run.