Collared Peccary

Collared Peccary

Mexican hog, Musk hog, Javelina, Quenk, Saíno or Báquiro

Pecari tajacu
Population size
Life Span
10-30 years
Top speed
km/h mph 
kg lbs 
mm inch 
m ft 

The Collared peccary (Dicotyles tajacu) is a species of even-toed mammal found in North, Central, and South America. They are commonly referred to as javelina, saíno, or báquiro, although these terms are also used to describe other species in the family. The species is also known as the Musk hog. In Trinidad, it is colloquially known as quenk. Although Collared peccaries seem to be helpless, in fact, they can defend themselves against the most fearsome predators, using their hordes.


The Collared peccary has small tusks that point toward the ground when the animal is upright. It has slender legs with a robust or stocky body. The tail is often hidden in the coarse fur of the peccary.




Collared peccaries are native to the Nearctic and Neotropical regions. They have a rather large area of distribution, stretching from South America (northern Argentina) to Central America and as far north as the southern portions of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas in the U.S. These animals inhabits deserts, xeric shrublands, tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, shrublands, flooded grasslands and savannas, tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests, and several other habitats. They also present in habitats shared by humans, merely requiring sufficient cover. Peccaries can be found in cities, suburbs and agricultural land throughout their range.

Collared Peccary habitat map

Climate zones

Collared Peccary habitat map
Collared Peccary
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Habits and Lifestyle

Collared peccaries can be active during the daytime hours and in some areas of their range at night. They are highly social animals, gathering in considerably large groups of up to 50 individuals, led by a single alpha male, which mates with females of the group. Community members usually form close bonds with each other. They also practice mutual grooming, which is thought to enhance interpersonal relationships. Males typically engage in harsh competition, which rarely results in mortality. Collared peccaries display very territorial behavior, marking their home ranges with special scent glands, found on their rump. Scent marking occurs by rubbing the hind part on the ground or tree bark. This form of communication allows group members to recognize each other. Collared peccaries also communicate with each other using alarm calls, aggression display, or a submission sound.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Collared peccaries generally maintain a herbivorous (folivorous, granivorous, frugivorous, graminivorous) diet. They normally feed on cactus, mesquite beans, fruits, berries, seeds, roots, tubers, bulbs, palm nuts, grasses, other green vegetation, fungi, and insects. However, they will also eat eggs, snakes, fish, frogs, lizards, dead birds, and rodents if the opportunity presents itself. Despite all this supplementary diet, the main dietary components of this species are agaves and prickly pears. In areas inhabited by humans, they also consume cultivated crops and ornamental plants, such as tulip bulbs.

Mating Habits

150 days
1-5 piglets
2-3 months

Collared peccaries exhibit a polygynous mating system, where a single alpha male mates with females of the group and defends his mating rights against other males of the area. These animals don't display a specific breeding season and instead may breed throughout the year. Gestation period lasts for up to 150 days, yielding 1 - 5 young. Females usually leave the group for one day prior to giving birth, in order to protect their young. After a short while, the newborn peccaries begin following their mother. Young peccaries are weaned at about 2-3 months of age. However, they remain with their mother for the first 11-12 months of their lives, after which they reach maturity. The age of reproductive maturity is 8-14 months old for females and 11-12 months old for males.


Population threats

Despite being classified as Least Concern, Collared peccaries are affected by several factors, which negatively impact their numbers. Throughout their range, these animals are currently facing the loss of their natural habitat. They are also predated by wild felines. Further, due to raiding crops, they are considered to be a pest species and are thus commonly persecuted by humans, who try to protect their crops by trapping or directly shooting Collared peccaries. On the other hand, these animals have suffered from continuous hunting for food in Central and South America. The total population of this species has greatly reduced because of commercial hunting for their hide and meat. Currently, they are hunted for sport in the southwestern United States.

Population number

According to IUCN, the Collared peccary is widely distributed and common throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. As reported by the About Animal resource, south-western North America holds more than 2,000,000 individuals of this species. These animals are also found in Central and Southern America, where their numbers appear to be stable. Overall, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers remain stable today.

Ecological niche

Being herbivores, Collared peccaries may have a role in the structuring of plant communities and are seed dispersers. They may also affect large carnivore populations (jaguar, puma, coyote), as items of prey.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • The Collared peccary gets its name from the white hairs, forming a 'collar' around their neck.
  • Newborn Collared peccaries have red skin, due to which they are usually called 'reds'. Juveniles, on the other hand, have brown-yellow overall coloration and a conspicuous black band, running across their back.
  • The word "javelina" means "javelin" or "sword" in Spanish. These animals are so-called due to their sharp tusks.
  • The word "pecary" is likely to originate from the native Brazilian Tupi language and means "many paths through the woods". In Brazil, these animals are known as "tajacus".
  • An alternative name of this species is the "musk hog". The animal gets this name due to its scent glands, producing a smelly odor that is used in marking the territory.
  • Because of the poorly developed vision, Collared peccaries mainly rely on vocalizations to communicate with conspecifics.
  • Their jaws are equipped with extremely sharp teeth. The tightly aligned canine teeth of these animals constantly sharpen.
  • Collared peccary is represented by 14 subspecies, which is a result of adaptation to various environmental conditions.

Coloring Pages


1. Collared Peccary Wikipedia article -
2. Collared Peccary on The IUCN Red List site -

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