Burgers’ Zoo announced the birth of two Collared Peccaries on January 1st. The Zoo does not yet know the sex of the two, but the New Year babies weighed between 0.4 and 0.9 kilograms at birth.
Photo Credits: Christiaan Luttenberg / Burgers' Zoo
The Collared Peccary (Pecari tajacu) is a species of mammal in the family Tayassuidae 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 somewhat related to the pigs and frequently referred to as one, this species and the other peccaries are no longer classified in the pig family, Suidae.
The Collared Peccary stands around 510–610 millimeters (20–24 in) tall at the shoulder and is about 1.0–1.5 m (3 ft 3 in–4 ft 11 in) long. It weighs between 16 and 27 kg (35 and 60 lb).
The species has small tusks that point toward the ground when the animal is upright. It also has slender legs with a robust or stocky body. The tail is often hidden in the coarse fur of the peccary.
Collared Peccaries normally feed on cactus, mesquite beans, fruits, roots, tubers, palm nuts, grasses, invertebrates, and small vertebrates. In areas inhabited by humans, they will also consume cultivated crops and ornamental plants, such as tulip bulbs.
They are diurnal creatures that live in groups of up to 50 individuals, averaging between six and 9 members. They frequently sleep at night in burrows, often under the roots of trees, but sometimes they can be found in caves or under logs. However, the species is not completely diurnal. In central Arizona they are often active at night but less so during daytime.
Although they usually ignore humans, they will react if they feel threatened. They defend themselves with their long tusks, which can sharpen themselves whenever their mouths open or close.
A Collared Peccary will release a strong musk or give a sharp bark if it is alarmed. They also make clacking and barking sounds to warn their enemy, before finally charging to bite.
Collared Peccaries can live for up to 10-15 years in the wild. Females attain sexual maturity between 8-14 months while males are mature at 11 to 12 months.
After mating, the female undergoes a gestation period for up to 150 days. The pregnant females generally move away from the rest of the herd before giving birth, as the herd can be a threat to the newborns. On average, they give birth to a litter of one to five babies that are capable of following their mother soon after birth.
The day after giving birth, the female reunites with the herd. The babies stay close to mother and follow her until they are mature at the age of 11-12 months. During this period, only the older females of the herd are tolerated and allowed to groom the baby. Weaning occurs when the baby is approximately 2-3 months old.