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Javelina (Collared Peccary) (Dicotyles tajacu)
javelina

DESCRIPTION: Wt=30-65 lbs (14-30 kg). Stand about 2' high (60cm). Overall grizzled-gray with an indistinct white collar. Look pig-like, but are in a separate family (Tayassuidae) from pigs (Suidae).
NATURAL HISTORY: Primarily herbivorous, but will occasionally take small animals (e.g., worms, insects, amphibians, and reptiles). Activity time depends on temperature -- diurnal during winter, crepuscular during summer. Usually runs away from threats, but when cornered, may use their tusks for defense (their common name -- javelina -- comes from the spanish word, jabalina, which means spear). Javelina are social, traveling in herds ranging up to 30 animals. They have a gland in their lower back that produces a distinctive, musky-smelling, oily substance. They use this substance to mark their territories and to rub on each other (reciprocal grooming) to produce a herd scent that allows them to recognize members of their own herd. Breeding occurs year-round (mostly in winter), and most of the mating is done by the dominant male. Newborns are red in color and stand behind their mother to nurse.
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