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January 25, 2022 3 min read


Peccary, which is also known as javelin or javelina, is a medium-sized pig-like mammal from the family Tayassuidae. Peccaries are also called New World pigs; however, they differ from the true pigs in dental features and specific skeletal characteristics.

They are environmental engineering heroes who have an essential ecological role in the ecosystem. In forests, they are one of the main contributors to succession

Species of Peccary:

At the particular time, there are only three living species of peccary and which are,

  • White-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari)
  • Chacoan peccary (Catagonus wagneri)
  • Collared peccary (Dicotyles tajacu)

Peccaries Similarities and Differences with Pigs:


  • Both pigs and peccaries are omnivores.
  • Both can swim and wallow in the mud.
  • Peccaries and pigs both have muscular mobile snouts and small eyes.
  • Both are small hoofed mammals.


  • Both have different teeth arrangements.
  • Peccaries have smaller ears like teddy bears, while pigs have large upright ears.
  • Peccary snouts end in cartilaginous disks while pigs lack this.
  • Peccary has a small tail while pig’s tail is tasseled.

General Characteristics:

Body Shape and Color:

The body of the peccary is barrel-shaped and covered with dark coarse hair. The color may be gray-brown, black, or white. The collared peccary has a pale stripe around its neck, and the white-lipped peccary is the darkest among the extant species.

Body Size and Weight:

Chacoan peccary is the largest among the extant peccary species, with a height of 20 to 27 inches and weight of about 40 kg. Collared peccary is the shortest with the height of 12 to 20 inches and weighs only about 28 kg, while white-lipped peccary is 16 to 24 inches in height and has a body weight of 30 kg.


Peccaries have spear-like canine teeth, due to which they are commonly known as juvenile, and these teeth help them crush hard seeds while their tusks prevent them from predators. The teeth are not protrusible and produce lumps in lips.

Head and Nose:

The head is large, while their snout is small and has a cartilaginous disk. They have a good sense of smell which helps them detect food buried under the ground.

Diet of Peccary:

Peccaries are omnivores and eat small animals, grasses, seeds, roots, insects, grubs, fruits. The seeds and plants pass through their digestive tract, and they sprout some of the material; this act helps in seed spreading.

Predators of Peccary:

Some common predators or threats of peccaries are,

  • Mountain lion
  • Jaguars
  • Black bears
  • Coyotes

One of the major threats is deforestation and hunting practices.

Distribution of Peccary:

Peccaries are distributed across the southwestern area of North America, Trinidad in the Caribbean, Brazil, and Central and South America

Some Social Behaviors Exhibited by Peccaries:

  • Peccaries being social animals, live in herds.
  • They rub each other while greeting and grooming and sit close together while resting.
  • For communication, they use different sounds like barks, low grunts, clacking their teeth, coughs, huffs, etc.
  • They also socially connect with other herd members by scent marking as they have scent glands under the skin that produce musky odor.

Peccary Hunting:

Peccary is the smallest big-game animal, and the top peccary hunting areas are in Mexico, Southwest of America, Yucatan border to America.

While talking about peccary hunting season, the period may vary according to the state as in some states it is from September to October while some states open peccary hunting from March till May. The most widely and convenient method of hunting peccaries is spot-and-stalk. The other methods may be calling, driving, and hunting from a blind.

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