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Peccaries: Tayassuidae

Collared Peccary (tayassu Tajacu): Species Account

Physical characteristics: Collared peccary adults measure 46 to 60 inches (11.8 to 152.4 centimeters) long and weigh between 40 and 60 pounds (18.2 to 27.2 kilograms). Their skin is black and gray, with a dark stripe running down their backs. They are easy to spot because of a whitish gray band of fur around their necks. Babies are yellow-brown or red.

Geographic range: Known in Spanish as the javelina (pronounced HAV-a-lee-nah), this species is found in the southwestern United

Female collared peccaries give birth to two offspring at the end of their pregnancy. (© G. C. Kelley/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

States. It also lives in Central America and on the Pacific coasts of Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, mainly inhabiting the Chaco, or dry tropical thorn forest.

Habitat: Collared peccaries live throughout a range of habitats, from open deserts to oak forests to tropical forests. They are also found occasionally on floodplains in the Amazon.

Diet: They eat cacti (KACK-tie, or KACK-tee), roots, fruit, seeds, shrubs, small lizards and mammals, and in Arizona, the prickly pear. This is an ideal fruit for the collared peccary, as it has a high water content.

Behavior and reproduction: Herd size varies depending upon habitat, so groups can be comprised from as few as two to as many as thirty individuals. This species lives in hollowed-out logs or hollows in the ground, near water if possible. They are most active during the cooler times of day, during the morning or after sunset.

After a pregnancy of 145 days or so, the female gives birth to two offspring. The approximate age at first breeding is sixteen months. Not much else is known about the reproductive behavior of this animal, though experts believe both sexes have several mates and do not bond.

Predators of the collared peccary include bobcats, coyotes, pumas, and jaguars.

Collared peccaries and people: This species is the most widely hunted of all peccaries. Its meat is a source of food and money for many rural Peruvians.

Conservation status: Collared peccaries are not considered threatened. ∎



Yule, Lauray. Javelinas. Tucson, AZ: Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2004.


Port-Carvalho, Marcio. "Predation of an Infant Collared Peccary by a Harpy Eagle in Eastern Amazonia." Wilson Bulletin (March 1, 2003).

Web sites:

"Collared Peccary." Desert USA. http://www.desertusa.com/magnov97/nov_pap/du_collpecc.html (accessed on July 9, 2004).

"Collared Peccary." Animal Planet. http://animal.discovery.com/fansites/jeffcorwin/carnival/lilmammal/javelina.html (accessed on July 9, 2004).

"Jaguar, Tapir, and Other Large Mammals." Peru Nature. http://www.perunature.com/info04.asp (accessed on July 9, 2004).

"Javelina." Big Bend National Park. http://www.nps.gov/bibe/teachers/factsheets/javelina.htm (accessed on July 9, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsPeccaries: Tayassuidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Collared Peccary (tayassu Tajacu): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, PECCARIES AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS