Jabalí de collar, Pecarí de collar (Sp), Halsbandpekari (G), Pecari à collier (F). "Javelina" is from the Spanish jabalí, for wild boar. Sometimes incorrectly called pig or musk hog. Tayassu is of Indian origin, meaning "gnawer of roots." Tajacu is a native name in Brazil for this animal. "Peccary" is from the Tupi (Brazil) pecari for "an animal which makes many paths through the woods."
DESCRIPTION Shoulder height 17-20 inches (43-51 cm). Weight 35-55 pounds (16-25 kg). Both sexes are similar in size.
The smallest species of peccary. Coloration is a grizzled dark gray with the legs almost black, and there is a whitish collar diagonally from shoulder to throat. The young are reddish with a dark dorsal stripe.
BEHAVIOR A highly gregarious herd animal, living in groups of 5-15, sometimes more, with females usually dominant. Fairly sedentary. Herds have established home ranges and a tight group integrity. Breeding can occur throughout the year, although in Arizona collared peccaries usually mate during February-March, with the young (numbering 1-4, but usually two) born in summer. Life expectancy is 8-10 years in the wild, up to 24 years in captivity.
The collared peccary takes shelter in thickets, burrows, caves and hollow trees. Active at night and during the cooler parts of the day. Omnivorous, eating fruits, bulbs, tubers, roots, and also small animals, bird eggs and carrion. Drinks water regularly when available, but is able to do without it for several weeks. Sense of smell is extremely acute, hearing is good, but eyesight is only fair. A speedy, agile runner and a good horizontal jumper. Normally timid and inoffensive; however, a herd will defend itself as a group against predators. Has an unjustified reputation for being dangerous to humans, for, in truth, its so-called "charges" are usually attempts to escape. Hunting is done a number of ways - stalking, from blinds, and in Texas, they can be hunted with hounds.
HABITAT Can live in a great variety of habitats, including rain forest, dry woodland and desert scrub. Avoids open plains and other areas where cover is lacking. Favors lower elevations, but is sometimes seen as high as 6,000-8,000 feet (1,800-2,400 m).
DISTRIBUTION Southern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, southern Texas, most of Mexico, and Central America. Introduced in Cuba.
Also found in South America as far south as northern Argentina.
TAXONOMIC NOTES Ten subspecies are listed in North America; however, differences between them are minor, being primarily based on size and color, as northern animals tend to be lighter and heavier than tropical specimens. We do not separate them.