Two escaped llamas led authorities in Phoenix on a long chase on 26 February as audiences worldwide were captivated by live video of their escapades filmed from television news helicopters.

The llama drama began at lunchtime when a large white llama and a slightly smaller black companion were spotted roaming the north-western Arizona suburb of Sun City.

They were pursued by deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and members of the public, often skipping away from capture at the last moment.

The escaped llamas launched a Buzzfeed quiz and were trending internationally on social media under the hashtag #llamas.

The white llama, often running ahead of its smaller dark-colored companion, seemed to like to sprint into oncoming traffic as posse members approached them with their arms outstretched.

The pair was separated briefly during the chase, but found each other again shortly before the black llama was lassoed in by two citizens near 103rd Avenue.

Alone, the ivory-hued llama fended for itself against its assailants for another 15 minutes before it was finally lassoed by an onlooker who was riding in the bed of a pick-up truck alongside the animal.

It was not immediately clear where the shaggy animals had escaped from.