• Lower Cliff Dwelling

    Tonto

    National Monument Arizona

Collared Peccary

collared peccary

collared peccary

NPS Photo

Collared peccary
Pecari tajacu

Body length: 34 - 36"
Diet: Prickly pear, mesquite beans, grubs, etc.

Though its official name is collared peccary, in Arizona this species is better known as javelina, a Spanish word pronounced "hav-a-LEEN-ah". Javelina are not wild pigs or boars, which are domestic pigs gone wild. Rather, this native species is the only US member of a mammal family which is widespread in Central and South America. Peccaries differ from pigs in many ways, including the absence of large tusks and their smaller size. Javelina are highly social animals, traveling in family groups or herds of three to eighteen individuals. Each herd has a particular scent, based on musk secretions, that forms the basis for mutual recognition. They are not often seen here during the day, preferring shady areas such as dense vegetation and shallow caves.

Are javelina expanding their range northward? Possibly, as they now occur in northern Arizona in areas where they did not occur historically. However, they have been in southern Arizona at least since the arrival of Europeans.

Did You Know?

crested saguaro

Tonto National Monument is home to a crested saguaro. Botanists disagree as to why some saguaros grow in this unusual form. Some speculate that it is a genetic mutation. Others say it is the result of lightning or freeze damage. About one in 150,000 saguaros develop this unusual growth.