31            Collared Peccary

                        DYCOTYLES TORQUATUS.--F. CUVIER.
                               [Dicotyles tajacu]

                               COLLARED PECCARY.

                                  PLATE XXXI.

     D. pilis nigro alboque annulatis; vitta albida ab humeris in latere colli
utroque decurrente.

     Hair, annulated with black and white; a light-coloured band extending from
the sides of the neck around the shoulders, and meeting on the back.


     TAYTETOU, D'AZARA, Quad. du Paraguay, vol. i., p. 31.
     TAJACU, Buffon, vol. v., p. 272, pl. 135.
     SUS TAJACU, Linn., 12th ed.  vol. i., p. 103.
     TAJACU, Ray, Quad., p. 97.
     SUS TAGASSA, Erxleben, Syst., p. 185.
     SUS TAGASSA, Schreber, Saugethiere, t. 325.
     APER AMERICANUS, Briss., Regne An., p. 3.
     TAJACU CAAIGOANA MARCGR, Bras., p. 229.
     MEXICAN HOG, Pennant, Quadr., p. 147.
     PORCUS MOSCHIFERUS, Klein, Quadr., p. 25.
     PECCARI, Shaw, Gen.  Zool., vol. ii., p. 469, 224.
     DYCOTYLES TORQUATUS, F. Cuvier, Dict.  des Sciences Naturelles, tom. ix.,
       p. 518,
     DYCOTYLES TORQUATUS, Desm., Mamm., p. 393.
     DYCOTYLES TORQUATUS, Cuv., Regne An., vol. i., p. 237.
     DYCOTYLES TORQUATUS, Pr.  Maxim.  Beitr., vol. ii., p. 557.
     DYCOTYLES TORQUATUS, Harlan, Fauna, p. 220.
     DYCOTYLES TORQUATUS, Griffith's Animal Kingdom, sp. 740.


     The form of the Collared Peccary bears a very striking resemblance to that
of the common domesticated hog; it is however smaller in size, shorter, and more
     Head, rather large; snout, long; ears, upright, and of moderate size; eyes,
rather small.  The cartilage on the extremity of the nose is naked, with the
exception of a few bristles on the upper lip.  On the upper surface of the nose,
near the cartilage, there is a spot half an inch in length that is naked;
nostrils, large; the upper tusks, in the living animal, protrude downward below
the lower lips half an inch; the ears are on both surfaces thinly clothed with
hair that is softer than that on the remainder of the body.  The hairs on the
head are short.  From the hind part of the head along the dorsal line on the
back, there are long strong bristles, which are erected when the animal is
irritated.  Many of these bristles are five inches in length, whilst the hairs
on the other parts of the body are generally about three.
     On the lower part of the back, a slight distance from the rump, there is a
naked glandular orifice surrounded by a few bristles in a somewhat radiated
direction.  From this orifice there exudes a strong scented fluid.  This part of
the animal has been vulgarly supposed to be its navel.
     The legs, which strongly resemble those of the common hog, are rather
short.  There is not even a vestige of the small upper external hind-toe, which
is always present in the common hog.  There is a ruff under the throat,
protruding about three inches beyond the surrounding hairs.  The under surface
of the body is rather thinly clothed with hair.
     In place of a tail there is a mere protuberance about half an inch in
length, which is rounded and like a knob.


     Eyes, dark-brown; nostrils, flesh-colour.  The hairs are at their roots
yellowish-white, are thrice annulated with dark-brown and yellowish-white, and
are tipped with black.  Head, cheeks, and sides of the neck, grayish; legs,
dark-brown; a whitish band two inches broad runs from the top of the shoulder on
each side toward the lower part of the neck.  The long hairs on the dorsal line
are so broadly tipped with black that the animal in those parts appears of a
black colour; along the sides however the alternate annulations are so
conspicuous that it has a deep gray or grizzled appearance.  On the chest, outer
surface of shoulders and thighs, it is of a darker colour than on the sides.
Immediately behind the lightish collar on the shoulders the hairs are dark,
rendering this collar or band more conspicuous.
     The young have a uniform shade of red.


     Living female.                                          Feet.  Inches.

     Length of head and body  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  2     10
     Length of head  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  0     11
     Length of ear   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  0      3
     Height to shoulder .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  1      8
     Length of tail     .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  0      0 1/2

     Adult male (recent) obtained in Texas.                  Feet.  Inches.

     From nose to anterior canthus  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  0      5 1/2
     From nose to beginning of ear  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  0      9 1/4
     Length of ear   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  0      3 1/2
     Breadth of car  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  0      2 7/8
     Length from snout to root of tail .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  3      4
     Tail . .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  0      0 3/4
     From knee to end of hoof .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  0      5 3/4
     Hind-knee to end of hoof .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  0      7 1/4
     Spread of fore-feet   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  0      1 3/4
     Girth across the centre of body   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  2      5
     Spread of mouth when fully extended  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  0      5 1/2
     Breadth between the eyes .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  0      2 3/4


     The accounts that have been handed down to us of the habits of this species
and others, who furnished the information from which BUFFON, BRISSON, RAY, and
LINNAEUS, drew up their descriptions of the Mexican hog, are not to be fully
relied on, inasmuch as their descriptions referred to two very distinct species,
the white-lipped peccary, (D. labiatus,) and the subject of the present article.
Neither LINNAEUS nor his contemporaries seem to have been aware of the
difference which exists between the species; and although BUFFON was informed by
M. DE LA BORDE that another and larger species existed at Cayenne, he does not
appear to have drawn any line of distinction between it and our animal.
     D'AZARA, who visited South America in 1783, (Essais sur l'Histoire
Naturelle des Quadrupedes de la Province du Paraguay, Paris, 1801,) endeavoured
to correct the errors into which previous writers had fallen, and gave an
account of the present species, which, although somewhat unmethodical, is
nevertheless of such a character that it may on the whole be relied on.  He
commences his article on the "taytetou," as he designates this species, by first
giving correct measurements; afterwards he describes the colour of the adult and
young, points out the distinctive marks which separate this species from the
white-lipped peccary, which he calls "tagnicate," and then gives a tolerable
account of the habits of the species now under consideration.  From the accounts
which travellers have given us of the Collared Peccary it appears that this
species is gregarious, and associates for mutual protection in pretty large
families; it is however stated by D'AZARA that the white-lipped peccary is more
disposed to congregate in very large herds than our animal.
     Although they are usually found in the forests and prefer low and marshy
grounds, like common hogs, Peccaries wander wherever they can find an abundance
of food, often enter the enclosures of the planters, and commit great
depreciations on the products of their fields.
     When attacked by the jaguar, the puma, the wolf, the dog, or the hunter,
they form themselves into a circle, surrounding and protecting their young,
repelling their opponents with their sharp teeth, and in this manner sometimes
routing the larger predatory animals, or severely wounding the dogs and the
     When angry, they gnash their teeth, raise their bristles, (which at such
time resemble the quills of the porcupine,) and their sharp, shrill grunt can be
heard at a great distance.
     This species feeds on fruits, seeds, and roots; and like the domesticated
hog is constantly rooting in the earth in quest of worms, insects, reptiles, or
bulbous roots.  It is said also to devour the eggs of alligators, turtles, and
birds; and to be destructive to lizards, toads, and snakes.  In fact, like the
common hog it is omnivorous, feeds upon every thing that comes in its way, and
is not particularly choice in the selection of its food.
     Mons. DE LA BORDE:  (D'AZARA, Quad. du Paraguay, vol. i., p. 31,) relates
that "they are easily shot; for instead of flying, they assemble together, and
often give the hunters an opportunity of charging and discharging several
times."  He mentions "that he was one day employed, along with several others,
in hunting these animals, accompanied by a single dog, which as soon as they
appeared, took refuge between his master's legs.  For greater safety he with the
other hunters stood on a rock.  They were nevertheless surrounded by the herd of
bons.  A constant fire was kept up, but the creatures did not retire till a
great number of them were slain."  "These animals, however," he remarks, "fly
after they have been several times hunted.  The young, when taken in the chase,
are easily tamed, but they will not associate or mix with the domestic species.
In their natural state of liberty they frequent the marshes, and swim across
large rivers.  Their flesh," says he, "has an excellent taste, but is not so
tender as that of the domestic hog; it resembles the flesh of the hare, and has
neither lard nor grease."
     The same author also states that "when pursued they take refuge in hollow
trees, or in holes in the earth dug by the armadilloes.  These holes they enter
backwards and remain in as long as they can.  But when highly irritated they
instantly issue out in a body.  In order to seize them as they come out, the
hole is enclosed with branches of trees; one of the hunters, armed with a
pitchfork, stands above the hole to fix them by the neck, while another forces
them out, and kills them with a sabre."
     "Where there is but one in a hole, and the hunter has not leisure to seize
it, he shuts up the entrance, and is sure of his game next day."
     All authors agree in stating that the dorsal glands of either the male or
female should be cut off instantly after the animal is killed, for their
retention for only a single hour gives the meat so strong an odour that it can
scarcely be eaten.
     The only recent account we have thus far received, that contains original
and authentic information about this singular wild hog, was furnished us by Mr.
WILLIAM P. SMITH.  He had been sent to this country by our ever kind friend, the
Right Honourable the EARL OF DERBY, for the purpose of procuring living animals
to enrich his collection at Knowsley, near Liverpool.  We engaged him also to
obtain for us any rare species he could meet with in Texas, and to send
descriptions of their habits, and any other information likely to be of interest
to the readers of this work.  Mr. SMITH went to Texas in 1841, and shortly
afterwards sent us the following account of the Peccary.  He says,--
     "The Mexican hogs previous to the overflowing of the bottom lands in
1833, struck terror into the hearts of the settlers in their vicinity,
oftentimes pursuing the planter whilst hunting or in search of the lost track
of his wandering cattle--at which time they frequently killed his dogs, or
even at times forced him to ascend a tree for safety, where he would sometimes
be obliged to wait until the hogs got tired of dancing attendance at the foot
of his place of security, or left him to go and feed.  These animals appeared
quite savage, and would, after coming to the tree in which the planter had
ensconsed himself, snap their teeth and run about and then lie down at the
root of the tree to wait for their enemy to come down.  At this early period
of the settlement of Texas, (this refers to 1833,) they used to hunt this
animal in company.  From five to fifteen planters together, and occasionally a
larger number of hunters, would join in the pursuit of these ravagers of their
corn-fields, in order to diminish their number and prevent their farther
depreciations, as at times they would nearly destroy a farmer's crop.  Since
this time, however, their number has greatly decreased, and it is now a
difficult matter to find them."
     "On some parts of the Brazos they still exist, and in others are quite
     Mr. SMITH further says, "The two I send you are the only ones I have heard
of since my arrival in this country.  I happened, with the assistance of a
person, to find out their lair, which is always in some hollow tree, although
they have many sleeping places.  Being late in the day I was determined not to
disturb them until a more favourable time would present itself, as I was
anxious, if possible, to procure them alive.  Some time passed, and everything
being ready, the dogs soon compelled them to make for home, when they having
entered, we secured the entrance of their hole, and cut a large opening up the
body of the tree, a few feet above them, from which "point of vantage" we were
enabled easily to drop a noose round their necks, which we tightened until we
thought they were nearly suffocated; we then drew them out, tied their legs and
feet securely, and fastened their mouths by binding their jaws together with
cords, and then left them lying on the ground for a time.  On our return we
found that they had got over the effect of the "experimental hanging" they had
gone through.  We put them across a horse, and in trying to get loose they so
tightened the ropes and entangled them about their necks, that they died before
we observed this on our way home with them.  This is the usual mode of taking
these animals alive, although some are caught in pits.  They have a large
musk-bag upon the back, from which a very disagreeable odour is emitted whilst
the animal is excited; but this is not observable after they are killed.  The
flesh of the female is good at some seasons of the year, but that of the male is
strong, coarse and disagreeable at all times.  Their principal food consists of
nuts of every description (mast) during winter; but in summer they feed on
succulent plants, with which the bottom lands in the Brazos abound.  The male
measured forty inches from the tip of its nose to that of its tail; the female
is shorter by two inches.  The eyes are very dark hazel colour."
     "As soon as they get within their den, one of them, probably the oldest
male, stands sentinel at the entrance.  Should the hunter kill it, another
immediately takes its place, and so in succession until all are killed.  This
animal, which in Texas is always called the wild hog, is considered the bravest
animal of these forests, for it dreads neither man nor beast."
     The Collared Peccary is easily domesticated, and breeds readily in
confinement.  We saw a pair on board of a ship that arrived in Charleston from
South America, the female of which had produced two young whilst on the passage;
they were then several weeks old, and seemed to be in a thriving condition.
     Mons. M. L. E. MOREAU SAINT MERY, the translator of the work of D'AZARA,
from the Spanish into the French language, states that in 1787 he saw at the
residence of the Governor General LA LUZERNE, a tame Collared Peccary, which he
had procured from Carthagena, with the intention of multiplying the species in
San Domingo, (Note du Traducteur D'AZARA, tom. i., p. 42.) We observed at the
Zoological Gardens in London, young Peccaries that had been born in the
menagerie.  This animal, however, is less prolific than the common domesticated
hog, and its odorous glands being moreover offensive, the extensive
domesticition of it would not be attended with any profit to the agriculturist.
     We have frequently seen the Collared Peccary in confinement.  One that is
at present (1846) in a menagerie in Charleston, is exceedingly gentle, taking
its food from the hand, and allowing itself to be caressed even by strangers.
It lies down in the manner of a pig, and next to giving it food, the greatest
favour you can bestow on it is to scratch it either with the hand or a stick.
It however is easily irritated.  We noticed that it has a particular antipathy
to the dog, and when approached by that animal immediately places itself in a
defensive attitude, raising its bristles, showing its tusks, stamping its feet,
and uttering a sharp cry which might be heard at the distance of seventy yards;
when in a good humour, however, it occasionally utters a low grunt like a pig.
It seems to suffer much from cold, and is always most lively and playful on warm
days.  It appears to prefer Indian-corn, potatoes, bread and fruits, but like
the domestic hog evinces no unwillingness to take any kind of food that is
presented to it.  We remarked, however, that it is decidedly less carnivorous
than the common hog.
     It is stated by authors that this species produces but once a year, and
brings forth only two at a litter.

                           GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION.

     The Collared Peccary has a most extensive geographical range.  It was seen
by NUTTAL at the Red River in Arkansas, north latitude 31 degrees.  Our
specimens were obtained in Texas.  It exists in all the lower portions of Mexico
and Yucatan, and is found every where within the tropics.  It is said by D'AZARA
to be abundant at Paraguay, south latitude 37 degrees, thus spreading itself
through an extent of sixty-eight degrees of latitude.

                                GENERAL REMARKS.

     This species has been noticed by all the early travellers in South America
and Mexico.  They however almost invariably confounded the habits of two
species.  D'AZARA pointed out the distinctive marks which separate these
species.  They differ so much from each other that they ought never to have been
mistaken.  LINNAEUS applied the name Sus tajacu, but as it is impossible to
ascertain which species he had in view we cannot use his name for either.  RAY,
ERXLEBEN, and SCHREBER applied the same name, and committed the same error.
BRISSON gave the name Aper Americanus, and KLEIN that of Porcus muschiferus in
the same manner, without discriminating the species.  Baron CUVIER established
the genus DYCOTYLES, and F. CUVIER applied the specific name of torquatus.
BUFFON, who had heard from M. DE LA BORDE that there were two distinct species
in Cayenne, considered them as mere varieties produced by age, but gave, as he
supposed, a figure of each; his figures, however, which are of no value, both
refer to the present species, and bear no resemblance to the white-lipped
Peccary, (D. labiatus.)
     It is somewhat strange that GRIFFITH, in his "Animal Kingdom," which be
states was arranged by Baron CUVIER, should have completely misunderstood
D'AZARA, (Histoire Naturelle, tom. i., p. 31,) and reversed the habits of the
two species, (CUVIER, Animal Kingdom, by GRIFFITH, vol. iii., p. 411,) giving
D'AZARA as authority for applying the habits of the present species, Tajassu,
(Dycotyles torquatus,) to those of his Tagnicati, (D. labiatus,) giving at the
same time a pretty good figure of the latter.  It may however be easily seen
that the whole object of D'AZARA's article on this species was to correct the
very error into which GRIFFITH has fallen.