Peccary

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Tayassu

Catagonus

Pecari

Dicotylidae

A peccary (plural peccaries; also javelina and skunk pig; Portuguese javali and Spanish jabalĂ­ or pecarĂ­) is a medium-sized mammal of the family Tayassuidae, or New World Pigs. Peccaries are members of the artiodactyl suborder Suina, as are the pig family (Suidae) and possibly the hippopotamus family (Hippopotamidae).[1] They are found in the southwestern area of North America and throughout Central and South America. Peccaries usually measure between 90 to 130 centimetres (3.0 to 4.3 ft), and a full-grown adult usually weighs between about 20 to 40 kilograms (44 to 88 lb).

People often confuse peccaries, which are found in the Americas, with the pig family which originated in Afro-Eurasia, especially since some domestic pigs brought by European settlers have escaped over the years and now run wild as razorback hogs in many parts of the United States.

Contents

Characteristics

Peccaries are medium-sized animals, with a strong superficial resemblance to pigs. Like pigs, they have a snout ending in a cartilagenous disc, and eyes that are small relative to their head. Also like pigs, they use only the middle two digits for walking, although, unlike pigs, the other toes may be altogether absent. Their stomach is non-ruminating, although it has three chambers, and is more complex than that of pigs.[2]

Peccaries are omnivores, and will eat small animals, although their preferred food consists of roots, grass, seeds, and fruit. One of the ways to tell apart pigs and peccaries is the shape of the canine tooth, or tusk. In European pigs the tusk is long and curves around on itself, whereas in peccaries, the tusk is short and straight. The jaws and tusks of peccaries are adapted for crushing hard seeds and slicing into plant roots[2], and they also use their tusks for defending against predators. The dental formula for peccaries is: Upper: 2.1.3.3, lower: 3.1.3.3

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