|Javelina or collared peccary
October 30, 1846
Photo above courtesy of John Shaver, Sierra Vista, Arizona,
Is it a pig or isn't it a pig? The collared peccary, called javelina or jabalina by the Spanish, is a New World animal exclusively and does not belong to the swine family which developed in Eurasia and spread across Europe. This New World animal is about three feet long, two feet high and salt-and-pepper grayish brown in color, with an erect mane of bristles along neck, shoulders and back and a marked "collar" at the shoulder line. The salt-and-pepper effect is caused by whitish bands on gray hair. In the winter the javelina's coat is very dark and dense and the collar is clearly visible. The javelina sheds hair in the summer and the summer coat is lighter in color with the collar frequently not visible. Javelina have lived as long as 24 years in captivity, but the average life span in the wild is probably about seven or eight years.
Newborn javelina weigh about a pound. The javelina mother doesn't lick the babies at birth as other mammals do, but rather rolls or tumbles them about. Shortly after birth the piglets are on their feet and able to follow their mother around; they are usually weaned by six weeks of age. The young, as shown above, are bright in color with reddish stripes. They assume adult coloration at three months and are sexually mature at ten months.
Javelina have a large range -- from Arizona and New Mexico as far south as Argentina. The Arizona Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that there are about 60,000 javelina in Arizona.
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