DesertUSA

Southwest Adventure, Living & Travel


Collared Peccary - Javelina

Peccary angulatus

pig

Peccaries have large heads and long snouts with thick coats of dark-gray, bristly hair and band of white hair (collar) around the neck. A mane of long, stiff hairs runs down the back from head to rump, where the scent gland is located.

The adult male collared peccary is 46 to 60 inches in length and is usually 20 to 24 inches in height. The adult male weighs between 40 and 60 pounds.

The peccary is colored a grizzled black and gray overall with a dark dorsal stripe but is lighter around the shoulders. The fur is very coarse.

The young are reddish to yellow-brown in color. In adults there is a mane that extends down the crown of the head to the rump, which is most obvious when the peccary is excited.

Vocalization

This species is vocal; several calls have been classified into three categories: aggressive, submissive, and alert.

Ears

Collared peccaries have good hearing.

Nose

Collared peccaries have a long snout.

Feet

Peccaries have 3 toes on each hind foot.

Behavior

Peccaries usually travel in bands from 6 to 12 although as many as 50 have been seen together. They are most active during early morning and evening when it is cooler. 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.

Peccaries tend to remain near permanent sources of water. Unlike coyotes and bobcats, peccaries are unable to evaporate moisture through panting to prevent overheating. During the fierce heat of midday, peccaries bed down in the shade and forage where it's cooler.

Territories are defended by the rubbing of the rump oil gland against rocks, tree trunks and stumps. 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.

Habitat

In South and Central America, the collared peccary inhabits tropical rainforests. In the southern United States, herds occur in saguaro deserts, where they prefer mesquite habitats with an abundance of prickly pear cacti. They can also be found in semi-desert canyons, cliffs and watering holes near cacti, chaparral and oa .

Food & Hunting

Collared peccaries move about in small family groups, eating roots, fruits, insects, worms, and reptiles. Collared peccaries are primarily herbivorous, and have complex stomachs for digesting coarsely-chewed food. In the northern range, collared peccaries eat 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.

Breeding

The dominant male does virtually all the breeding. Breeding occurs throughout the year, depending on climate, especially rainfall; more young are raised in rainy years. They den in hollow logs or hollows in the ground. One to three young are born after a gestation period of 141 to 151 days. Birthing mothers retreat from the herd to prevent the newborn from being eaten by other group members. They rejoin the herd a 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 2 to 3 months. Males reach sexual maturity at 11 months; females, at 8 to 14 months. Despite the high mortality rate in this species, members have a life span of up to 24 years in captivity.

Conservation

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.

Collared peccaries have for decades been a source of economic income due to their skins and as hunting trophies. They are among the most important big game species in Arizona. The young are often captured and serve as domestic farm animals.

HUNTING SEASON:

In Arizona, January and February; weeks, in order: archery, H.A.M. (handgun, archery, muzzleloader) and rifle.

Cautions

Peccaries are not dangerous when left alone but an entire band can attack if one is wounded or pursued. Speedy and agile, they can drive off dogs, coyotes and bobcats.

Like bears and other mammals, they lose their fear of humans when fed by them. Will rummage around campsites like raccoons and are becoming an urban menace.

To observe, watch for feeding areas of cactus and succulents in open range of grasslands or slopes during cooler hours of the day. Use minimal sound and disturbance. View against the wind. Be patient. Javelina are slow-moving, casual animals unless frightened or threatened.

Geography – Range

The Chihuahuan and Sonoran Deserts of southwestern Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, southward through Central America to northern Argentina.

Related Species

Chaco Peccary. (Catagonus wagneri) - S. America
White-lipped Peccary. (Tayassu pecari) - Mexico

Comparisons

While peccaries look similar to pigs, peccaries are classified in a family of their own because of anatomical differences. They are members of the Tayassuidae family while true pigs are members of the Suidae family.

Peccaries are more slender and 30-50 pounds smaller than pigs, have longer, thinner legs and smaller hooves. Peccaries have only 3 toes on each hind foot (instead of 4), and the upper tusks (1.5 inches long) are pointed down, (rather than curled as with some other feral wild pigs). Peccaries also have a powerful musk gland on the top of the rump. Their odor is always apparent, especially when they are excited. You may smell a peccary before you see it.

Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Tayassuidae
Genus: Pecari
Species: tajacu

 

PigThis special gift set comes with a hardcover children's book titled: The Three Little Javalinas and a javalina stuffed animal.

Meet the three little javelinas (pronounced ha-va-LEE-nas)-- lovable, wild, southwestern cousins of pigs. Living in homes built out of tumbleweeds and saguaro ribs (from the fallen giant cacti), the first two javelinas are soon running from the hungry coyote, who had hoped to eat them with red chile sauce. And where do they go for shelter? Why, to their wise sister's house, made strong with adobe bricks.

Take a look at The Three Little Javelinas book and stuffed animal gift set or see Don't Call Me Pig.


 


Share this page on Facebook:


DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. (It's Free.)


The Desert Environment
The North American Deserts
Desert Geological Terms

SEARCH THIS SITE









 

Desert Videos

Mountain Lion

The Mountain Lion Video
The Mountain Lion, also known as the Cougar, Panther or Puma, is the most widely distributed cat in the Americas. It is unspotted -- tawny-colored above overlaid with buff below. It has a small head and small, rounded, black-tipped ears. Watch one in this video.

The Black Widow SpiderView Video about The Black Widow Spider. The female black widow spider is the most venomous spider in North America, but it seldom causes death to humans, because it only injects a very small amount of poison when it bites. Click here to view video.

The Rattlesnake

The Rattlesnake Video
Rattlesnakes come in 16 distinct varieties. There are numerous subspecies and color variations, but they are all positively identified by the jointed rattles on the tail. Take a look at a few of them, and listen to their rattle!

Peccaries Vital Stats

Weight: 35-60 lbs.

Length with Tail: 40-60"

Shoulder Height: 20-24"

Sexual Maturity: 2 years

Mating Season: year round

Gestation Period: 140-150 days

No. of Young: 1-3, 2 avg.

Birth Interval: 1 year

Lifespan: 10 years in the wild

Typical Diet: agaves and prickly pears

The collared peccary is the only wild, native, pig-like animal found in the United States.

The collared peccary is also known as the kavelina, Tayaussa or the musk hog.

They are called javelina because of their razor-sharp tusks. Javelina is Spanish for javelin or spear.

You may smell a peccary before you see it.

The prickly pear is the ideal food for the collared peccary due to its high water content.

Collared peccary have poor eyesight and good hearing.

___________________________________

Take a look at our Animals index page to find information about all kinds of birds, snakes, mammals, spiders and more!


Hot temperatures in the desertAre you interested in the temperatures in the desert?

Click here to see current desert temperatures!



 
   
 
   
Copyright © 1996-2014 DesertUSA.com and Digital West Media, Inc.