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Llama-Lovers Bring Exotic Pets to the Fore

Some people love cats. Others say that dogs are man's best friend.

Now, a growing number of pet lovers are going even bigger, preferring to keep llamas, the South American relative of the camel, as their household pets.

Gary and Katrina Capasso live in upstate New York and have not one, not two but 55 llamas as their pets.

"They're like potato chips. You can't just have one," Katrina Capasso told ABC News' Aditi Roy. "Of course, I love the llamas."

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The Capassos' love affair with llamas began when they got married and Gary gave Katrina a llama as a wedding gift.

"Yes, it's true, I gave my wife her first llama as a wedding present," Gary said.

The Capassos say llamas cost about the same to feed and take care of as a more traditional pet, a dog. The breed is known to graze on grass and plants and need very little water to survive.

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"They don't cost a lot to feed," Katrina said. "But, again, you do need to have some land to have them."

While the Capassos' 55-strong llama household might be a bit extreme, they're actually not that rare in owning a llama as a pet.

The Capassos are two of 30,000 people in the United States who own llamas, according to the International Llama Registry. The couple's 55 llamas are also among the 163,000 llamas registered in the United States, according to the same registry.

While llamas aren't seen on the street every day in the United States, our neighbors to the south, in Central and South America, have used llamas as pack animals to carry loads in the Andes Mountains for centuries.

The average size of a llama is comparable to a 6-foot-tall man and the average weight is around 250 pounds, according to National Geographic.

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