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Javelina (Collared Peccary)


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The javelina or collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu) is a pig-like mammal that lives in deserts, dry woodlands, and chaparral in the southwestern USA and Mexico. They live in deserts, chaparrals, and tropical and temperate rainforests. They travel in small herds of 15-20 individuals, searching for food using their excellent sense of smell. Peccaries are most active at dawn and dusk; they rest during the hottest part of the day. Peccaries mark territories with a skunk-like odor which is detectable from hundreds of feet away. Peccaries make snorting, woofing, and grunting noises. They can run about 21 mph (35 km/h).

Anatomy: Peccaries are hoofed mammals that resemble pigs but are not closely related to pigs. These artiodactyls have a flat, rubbery, pig-like snout, short legs, and a stocky body. They are covered with short, brown, black and/or gray bristly hair. Collared peccaries have a distinctive thin collar of white fur on the shoulders. They have downward-pointing, razor-like canine teeth (1.5 inches = 3.8 cm long) ; this animal's Spanish name, javelina, comes from the Spanish word for "spear." The collared peccary is the smallest of the peccaries; it is 22 inches (56 cm) tall at the shoulder, 3 feet (0.9 m) long, and weighs 31-60 pounds (14-27 kg).

Diet: The javelina or collared peccary is primarily an herbivore. It eats a variety of plants, including the prickly pear cactus, roots, plant bulbs, grass shoots, fruit, nuts, berries, mushrooms, grubs, and eggs.

Predators: Peccaries are hunted by many animals, including coyotes, bobcat, wild dogs, pumas, and jaguars.

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