White-lipped Peccary


Scientific name

Tayassu pecari

Global distribution

Southern Mexico to northeastern Argentina.


Very varied. More dependent on dense forest. Humid tropical forest and also dry forest, savannah and chaco.

Conservation status

Widespread and hunted. Appendix 2 CITES

Physical characteristics

Body size


Head and body length 900 1,300 mm

Shoulder height 440 600 mm


20-50 kg


Dark reddish brown to black and has white on the sides of the jaws.


Hair can be made erectile when excited.

Piglet colouring



6-9 tail vertebrae(Suids 20-23)

15 -65 mm




Anatomical points


Legs are long and slim and the hooves are small.

There are four digits on the forefoot, the two lateral ones being reduced and do not touch the ground.

There are two functional digits on the hind foot. There is a vestigial median digit on the back of the hind foot in Pecari and Tayassu but not in Catagonus.

The third and fourth foot bones are united at their proximal ends (as in ruminants but not suids).

Elongated snout. The rostrum is broad and flattened or slightly concave dorsally. The infraorbital canals are elliptical.

The stomach is two chambered but more complex than in Suids but none ruminating.

Fore feet

Hind feet


Scent gland 75 mm in diameter and 125 mm thick on the rump in front of the tail. Emits a specific odour.

Dental formulae

(i 2/3, c 1/1, pm 3/3, m 3/3) x 2 = 38

Upper canines form tusks, directed downwards not outwards or upwards as in Suidae, and they are generally shorter.

Tusks average length is 40 mm.

There is a space between the canines and premolars

The premolars increase in size to first to last.

The molars have square crowns with four cusps

The molar teeth lack well developed cingula, but have cusps closely connected by intermediate cusplets.

Behaviour points

Maturing age

18 months

Mating ritual


Seasonal breeding

Breeding occurs throughout the year

Oestrus period


Gestation period

156 162 days

Litter size and lactation

2 piglets


2 pairs of mammae

Catagonius 4 pairs of mammae

Weaning age


Family groups

May occur in large groups or herds of up to several hundred animals.

Cooling behaviour


Peak activity




May be nomadic or migratory

Wander over a vast range of forest, but always stay close to water.

1.0 and 1.6/ sq km.


Fruits, seeds and roots but it also takes invertebrates and small vertebrates and carrion.


The distribution of nuts and seeds may account for the family groups





21 years and 1 month