Collared Peccary (Tayassu tajacu)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family:    Tayassuidae
Size:    Length: 24 to 42 inches (61 to 107 cm)  Height: 12 to 22 inches (30 to 56 cm)
Weight: 35 to 65 pounds (16 to 29 kg)
Diet: Cactus plants, seeds, fruit, bulbs and the occasional insect or small animal
Distribution: Southern U.S., Mexico, Central America and South America
Young:  1 to 4, once per year
Animal Predators:  Coyotes, pumas, jaguars and bobcats
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: Group: Herd
Lifespan: Approximately 8 to 10 years in the wild and up to 24 years in captivity



·       Peccary is believed to be a Native Brazilian word meaning “many paths through the woods.”

·       The collared peccary is also known as the “javelina or the “musk hog.

·       It is the only wild pig-like animal native to the United States.

·       They have poor eyesight, but good hearing and tend to be very vocal.

·       They are fast runners, reaching speeds of up to 21 miles (35 km) per hour.



Collared peccaries resemble pigs, and have a white collar of fur around their neck that stands out from the rest of their fur, which is dark in colour. They have short tusks that protrude from the lower jaw. They have three toes on each hind foot. Peccaries are clean animals, but have a distinctive odour due to the musk gland located at the hindquarters.



Collared peccaries live in southern Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico, throughout Central America and down through South America to northeastern Argentina. They can usually be found near water, where they love to bath in order to cool down and to keep insects off their skin. 


Feeding Habits

The main food eaten by peccaries is cactus plants, and peccaries are very helpful in keeping these undesirable plants at a minimum. They also eat seeds, fruit, bulbs and the occasional insect or small animal. They are active by day, foraging for food during the early morning and evening when the temperatures are cooler, while resting in the shade during the heat of midday. 



The dominant male in a herd mates with the females. Unlike other animal species, in which subordinate males are forced to form bachelor groups, the dominant male of a peccary group will allow subordinate males into his herd. However, they are not allowed to mate. Females undergo a five-month gestation period. Just before the female is ready to give birth, she leaves the herd and gives birth alone in a sheltered area, such as a burrow or cave. The babies weigh approximately one pound (0.45 kg) at birth and can run within hours. They accompany their mother back to the herd within a day, and nurse for approximately eight weeks. Their older sisters (females from the mother’s previous litter) help their mother look after the little ones. 



Collared peccaries live in closely-knit herds of five to 15 individuals, made up of both males and females. When threatened by a predator, the entire herd scatters in all directions and the dominant male often sacrifices himself in order to give time for the young and females to escape. Peccaries are usually very shy and docile and have even been tamed by South American natives, but can become aggressive when they are threatened. Within their herds, peccaries are affectionate and rub against each other when greeting another member of the group. 



Collared peccaries are threatened by loss of habitat, however, they are not a conservation concern at this time. 



Collared Peccary Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US