Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
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Tayassu pecari

White-lipped Peccary

Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Tayassuidae

Image of Tayassu pecari
Tayassu pecari (White-lipped Peccary), Peru
Click to enlarge. (468 kb)

Conservation Status: Near Threatened. Continuing loss of habitat and hunting threaten this species.

White-lipped Peccaries live in large herds in undistured evergreen forest. They move single file along forest trails and spread out to eat, with males on the edge of the group and females and young in the center. They root for fruit, seeds, and other edible vegetable matter with their snouts. Their jaws are strong enough to crack palm nuts, a favorite food.

Peccaries have musky scent glands on their rump. Herds, which can consist of up to 200 individuals, use scent to mark territory and space themselves apart from other herds. Their senses of smell and hearing are better than their eyesight; they communicate with a variety of snorts, rumbles, grumbles, and clicks. If they feel threatened they may click their teeth loudly, and can erect long hairs on their spine, making them look larger.

Females usually have twins, after a 5-month gestation. The young are reddish-brown, but darken to blackish-brown as adults, with white fur on the cheek, throat, and lower jaw. Although they have thin legs in proportion to their body size, they are good swimmers.

Peccaries are heavily hunted for their meat and hides. This and habitat loss threaten their survival.

Range: Total Length: 905-1,390 mm; Tail: 10-65 mm

Range: 25-40 kg


Link, 1795. Beiträge zur Naturgeschichte von Brasilien, 2:104.


Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Tayassu pecari

Image of Tayassu pecari
Tayassu pecari (White-lipped Peccary), Peru
Click to enlarge. (460kb)

Image of Tayassu pecari
Click to enlarge. (370kb)