Collared Peccary


Scientific name

Pecari tajacu

Other names

Javelina Spanish for Javelin refers to the sharp tusks.

Global distribution

Central Arizona and Texas to northern Argentina


Great variety of habitats desert scrub, arid woodland and rainforest

Shelters in a thicket or under a large boulder. Limestone caves may be used in winter time.

Conservation status

Widespread and hunted. It is on the Appendix 2 of CITE

Physical characteristics

Body size


Head and body 750 1,000 mm

Shoulder height 440 500 mm


14-30 kg


Dark grey and there is a whitish collar on the neck


Hair can be made erectile when excited.

Piglet colouring

Young are reddish and have a dark stripe on the back


6-9 tail vertebrae

(Suids 20-23)


15-55 mm

Two male Collared Peccaries


Female side

Rear view

Front view




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 narrow and slightly more convex dorsally, the
infraorbital canals are rounded.

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

Detail of snout

General view of skull Detail of upper canine


Track of peccary

Detail of front feet

Detail of hind foot lateral dew claw visible no medial



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 molars have well developed cingula but the cusps are not closely connected.

Behaviour points

Maturing age

May breed in their first year

Mating ritual


Seasonal breeding

Throughout the year. In Arizona mating usually in February and March and give birth in the summer

Oestrus period

Average 24 days and oestrus lasts 4 days

Gestation period

Around 145 days

Litter size and lactation

1-4, usually 2.

Piglets 500-900 g born in a thicket.

Piglets can run within hours of birth


2 pairs of mammae

Milk is lower in fat than Suidae

Young reach the teats from the rear of the sow instead of standing parallel to one side

Weaning age

6-8 weeks

Family groups

Gregarious group size of 2 to 50 but usually 5 to 15, with groups of both sexes and all ages.

Several groups or sounders may group together.

Hierarchy is present, dominant animal male


Population density


Cooling behaviour

Use wallows and dust bowls. Will huddle together in a self-excavated depression, especially when cold.

Mud wallow

Dry sleeping depression



Poor vision and fair hearing but excellent sense of smell.


Fairly sedentary do not wander farm from its place of birth. It is capable of 35 km/hr

Keeps close to a water hole or stream

0.5 8.0 sq km peripheral areas may be shared, central area exclusive.

Territorial marking with the dorsal scent gland

Track through forest at times in single file


Mainly vegetarian, cactus fruit, berries, tubers, bulbs and rhizomes, But will take grubs, snakes and small vertebrates.



It does not seem to be harmed by rattlesnake bites.


24 years and 8 months reported