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Peccary (Family: Tayassuidae) - Wiki
Subject: Peccary (Family: Tayassuidae) - Wiki
Collared Peccary, Tayassu tajacu.jpg
Resolution: 1536x1024 File Size: 460016 Bytes Date: 2005:04:15 11:48:39 Camera: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL (Canon) F number: f/5.6 Exposure: 1/60 sec Focal Length: 300/1 Upload Date: 2007:09:16 00:53:46

Peccary (Family: Tayassuidae) - Wiki


Peccary
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[Photo] Collared Peccary in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica. Photo by Brian Gratwicke (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Brian.gratwicke)

Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Tayassuidae
Species
Tayassu
- Tayassu pecari
Catagonus
- Catagonus wagneri
Pecari
- Pecari tajacu
- Pecari maximus

The peccaries (also known by its Spanish name, javelina or pecar??) are medium-sized mammals of the family Tayassuidae. Peccaries are members of the Artiodactyls (even-toed ungulates) as are swine Suidae and hippopotami Hippopotamidae. They are found in the southwestern area of North America and throughout Central and South America. Peccaries usually measure between 90 and 130 cm in length (3 to 4 feet), and a full-grown adult usually weighs between about 20 and 40 kilograms (44 to 88 pounds).

People often confuse peccaries, which are found in the New World, with pigs that originated in the Old World, especially since some domestic pigs brought by European settlers have escaped over the years and now run wild in many parts of the United States. These feral pigs are popularly known as razorback hogs. Other relatives include the boar of the Old World and the warthog of Africa. One of the ways to tell apart the two groups is the shape of the canine tooth, or tusk. In the Old World pigs the tusk is long and curves around on itself, whereas in the New World peccaries the tusk is short and straight. Peccaries use their tusks for defense; they feed chiefly on roots and grasses but also eat invertebrates and small vertebrates.

By rubbing the tusks together they can make a chattering noise that warns potential predators to not get too close. Peccaries, indeed, are aggressive enough in temperament that, unlike Eurasia's pigs, they cannot be domesticated as they are likely to injure humans.

Species
Today there are three living species of peccary, found from the southwestern United States through Central America and into South America.

The Collared Peccary (Pecari tajacu) occurs from the southwestern United States into South America. They are often found in dry arid habitats. They are sometimes called the "musk hog" because of their strong odor. In some areas of the southwestern United States they have become habituated to human beings and live in relative harmony with them in such areas as the suburbs of cities where there are still relatively large areas of brush and undergrowth to move through. They are generally found in squadrons of eight to 15 animals of various ages. They will defend themselves if they feel threatened but otherwise tend to ignore human beings. They defend themselves with their long tusks, which sharpen themselves whenever the mouth opens or closes.

A second species is the White-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari), which is found in the rainforests of Central and South America.

The third species, the Chacoan peccary (Catagonus wagneri), is the closest living relative to the extinct Platygonus pearcei. It is found in the dry shrub habitat or Chaco of Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina and Southern Brazil. The Chacoan peccary has the unusual distinction of having been first described based on fossils and was originally thought to be only an extinct species. In 1975 the animal was discovered to still be alive and well in the Chaco region of Paraguay. The species was well known to the native people.

A fourth species, the Giant Peccary (Pecari maximus) was recently discovered in the Brazillian Amazon. As of yet, it is poorly known, but is thought to be the largest extant peccary. Its fur is complety dark gray, with no collars whatsoever.

Modern peccaries are social animals and often form herds. Over 100 individuals have been recorded for a single herd of white-lipped peccaries, but collared and Chacoan peccaries usually form smaller groups. Such social behavior seems to have been the situation in extinct peccaries as well.

Peccaries have scent glands below each eye and another on their back. They use the scent to mark herd territories from 75 to 700 acres. They also mark other herd members with these scent glands by rubbing one another to establish a herd scent. The pungent odor allows peccaries to recognize other members of the herd despite their poor eyesight.

History
Peccaries have a long history in North America. They first appear in the early Oligocene, about 32 million years ago, and a variety of different species are present in faunas of different ages across the continent. Some of these extinct peccaries have been found at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in Oregon and at Badlands National Monument in South Dakota.

Although they are common in South America today, peccaries did not reach that continent until about three million years ago, when the Isthmus of Panama formed, connecting North America and South America. At that time, many North American animals ??? including peccaries, llamas and tapirs ??? entered South America, while some South American species, such as the ground sloths, migrated north.

Peccaries in Popular Culture
One song on Frank Zappa's "Studio Tan" album is about "Greggery Peccary", a "little pig" who invents the calendar.

Episode 30, "Bully Up A Tree", of Davey and Goliath featured a bully who was chased up a tree by a peccary, and then rescued by the dog Goliath, whom he had teased earlier.

A stuffed Javelina is seen in the movie The Royal Tenenbaums.

The Pixies have a song called "Havalina" on their album Bossanova. The lyrics are: Havalina, Walking in the breeze, On the plains of old Sedona Arizona,


The javelina is the official mascot of Texas A&M University-Kingsville (formerly Texas A&I University), in Kingsville, Texas.

On the television show Survivorman, in the Sonoran Desert episode, Les Stroud warns about the peccary and also has several shots of the animal.

On the June 11th episode of Pardon the Interruption, Tony Kornheiser said he would have preferred to see Chad Johnson race a javelina rather than a horse.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peccary
The text in this page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article shown in above URL. It is used under the GNU Free Documentation License. You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the GFDL.

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