Collared Peccary

Peccaries live in herds, where they eat, sleep & forage together.

The collared peccaries, (Tayassu tajacu) also known by its Spanish name, javelina or pecarí are medium-sized mammals of the family Tayassuidae. Peccaries are members of the Artiodactyls (even-toed ungulants). They are found in the southwestern area of North America and throughout Central and South America.

Peccaries usually measure between 90 and 130 centimeters in length (three to four feet), and a full-grown adult usuRojo Loungeally weighs between about 20 and about 40 kilograms (44 to 88 pounds). Collared Peccaries are often confused with pigs due to their appearance. Their coat is a grizzled grayish black throughout, except for a yellowish tinge on the cheeks and a whitish to yellowish collar extending the mane, over the shoulders, and to the throat. While males and females are very similar in size and color, young are a yellowish brown color, with a black stripe down the back. Collared Peccaries have short, straight tusks that fit together tightly enough to hone each other down with every jaw movement. This razor sharpness gives this species its common name: Javelina: a javelin is a lightweight, tip-shaped spear. Javelinas have a distinct dorsal gland on the rump that is essential in much species- specific behavior. They also have poor eyesight and good hearing, which are believed to contribute to the very vocal nature of this species. Peccaries have large scent glands on their backs towards their rumps from which they secrete an oily musk with a strong, pungent smell.

One to three, but rarely four, young are born after a gestation period of 141 to 151 days. Birthing mothers retreat from the group; the newborn might otherwise be eaten by other group members
A designated or specific breeding season does not prevail in Collared Peccary herds; rather, mating reflects climate, especially rain, and occurs throughout the year. More young are raised in rainy years. The dominant male does virtually all the breeding. Subordinate males do not have to leave the herd, but are not allowed to approach females in estrus. As a result, bachelor herds do not exist. One to three, but rarely four, young are born after a gestation period of 141 to 151 days. Birthing mothers retreat from the group; the newborn might otherwise be eaten by other group members. However, mothers rejoin the herd one day after giving birth. Only the older sisters of the newborn are tolerated with the young; these often become nursemaids for the new mother. Weaning occurs at two to three months. Males reach sexual maturity at eleven months; females, at eight to 14 months. Collared Peccary Continued from Page 6 Despite the high mortality rate in this species, members have a life span of up to 24 years, which was observed in captivity. Peccaries have very close social relationships; they live in herds of 5 to 15 that are notably cohesive; members eat, sleep, and forage together. The exceptions are the old and infirm, who prefer to die in solitude. Herds have a characteristic linear dominance hierarchy, wherein a male is always dominant and the remainder of the order is largely determined by size. Territories range in size from 6 to 1260 hectares, and depend on herd size and food availability. Territories are defended by the rubbing of the rump oil gland against rocks, tree trunks, and stumps; this leaves smears of an oily fluid as a marker. Both sexes actively defend the home range. Collared peccaries fend off adversaries by squaring off, laying back their ears, and clattering their canines. In fight, they charge head on, bite, and occasionally lock jaws. The dorsal rump gland is also used as recognition and identification. In greeting, two group members rub each other, head to rump.

The Collared Peccary is one of the most widespread of Amazon mammals. They live in large herds of up to 50 individuals, foraging for a variety of food including fruits, seeds, leaves and small animals.
The Collared peccary is very dependent on ambient temperature and seasonal changes. This species is vocal; several calls have been classified into three categories: aggressive, submissive, and alert. They are primarily herbivorous, and have complex stomachs for digesting coarsely- chewed food. In its southern range, this species eats a variety of foods, including roots, bulbs, fungi, and nuts, in addition to fruits and occasional eggs, carrion, snakes, fish, and frogs. In the northern range, Collared Peccaries eats more herbivorous foods, such as roots, bulbs, beans, nuts, berries, grass, and cacti. Despite all this supplementary diet, the main dietary components of this species are agaves and prickly pears. The prickly pear is ideal in the Javelina’s arid range due to its high water content. This species is also capable of eating cultivated crops. People often confuse peccaries, which are found in the New World, with pigs that originated in the Old World, especially since some domestic pigs brought by European settlers have escaped over the years and now run wild in many parts of the United States. Unlike pigs, peccaries only raise one or two young and the piglets are able to run and follow the mother soon after birth.

The main predators of Collared Peccaries are humans, coyotes, pumas, jaguars, and bobcats. For centuries, young Peccaries have been captured, kept as domestic pets, and even fattened by Central and South American Indians. In Peru, 10,000 skins have been exported annually for decades. In Texas, more than 20,000 individuals are shot during the hunting season. Populations are fairly resilient due to adaptability, although subspecies in the tropics are threatened by rainforest destruction.

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