Friday, November 2, 2012

Collared Peccary (Tayassu tajacu)

One of the other animals that I photographed while down in Texas was the Collared Peccary, otherwise known as the Javelina.
 collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu
Most people think that the college peccary is a pig because they look similar to a pig.  Peccaries have their own family, because there are anatomical differences between them and pigs.  Peccaries have only three toes on each hind foot, pigs have four toes on each hind foot.  The peccaries upper tusks are pointed down, rather than curled as in feral wild pigs.
While waiting in the blinds, and photographing other animals and birds, we could tell when the peccaries were coming because we could smell them.  The reason for this is that the peccaries have a powerful musk gland on the top of the rump.
The peccaries come into the blind area for two reasons, food and water.  This gives us an opportunity to both study their habits and to have photo opportunities.  When the peccaries are drinking, they are usually docile to each other, however, when they are eating, they can become more aggressive.  As the peccaries crowd together, one peccary may become aggravated toward another, and they will start an aggressive grunt and then attack the other peccary.
 D3C_2860 October 28, 2012 NIKON D3S
 collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu
 D3C_2911-Edit October 29, 2012 NIKON D3S
Most of the time.  Peccaries travel in bands of anywhere from 6 to 12, although we have had as many is 25 at one time.  They are most active in the early morning and evening when it's cooler, since they cannot evaporate moisture through panting to prevent overheating.
The diet is mainly herbivorous with the main dietary components being agaves and prickly pears, along with roots, fruit, insects, worms seeds and reptiles.
At the Martin refuge, where we were photographing, an interesting event occurs.  There are broadcast feeders that are timed, and the javelina can hear the feeder go off and they will come to forage for the grain and some grain falls on their backs and the green jays will come down and land on the collared peccaries back to find and eat the grain.Green Jay on Back of Collared Peccary