[Each of the O’Reilly animal books includes a brief description of the animal on its cover. The designers chose the first O’Reilly animals from a series of woodcuts, although they’ve branched out since then. The main Perl books have camelids on the cover, and this colophon describes the one on the front of Learning Perl, Fifth Edition]
The animal on the cover of Learning Perl, Fifth Edition is a llama (Lama glama), a relation of the camel native to the Andean range. Also included in this llamoid group is the domestic alpaca and their wild ancestors, the guanaco and the vicu a. Bones found in ancient human settlements suggest that domestication of the alpaca and the llama dates back about 4,500 years. In 1531, when Spanish conquistadors overran the Inca Empire in the high Andes, they found both animals present in great numbers. These llamas are suited for high mountain life; their hemoglobin can take in more oxygen than that of other mammals. Llamas can weigh up to 300 pounds and are mostly used as beasts of burden. A packtrain may contain several hundred animals and can travel up to 20 miles per day. Llamas will carry loads up to 50 pounds, but have a tendency to be short-tempered and resort to spitting and biting to demonstrate displeasure. To other people of the Andes, llamas also provide meat, wool for clothing, hides for leather, and fat for candles. Their wool can also be braided into ropes and rugs, and their dried dung is used for fuel.