White-lipped Peccaries

White-lipped peccaries (Tayassu pecari) are a pig-like animal found throughout Central and South America. These large mammals are nomadic and usually travel in herds.


White-lipped peccaries have a range of habitat, including rainforests, dry forests, and even desert scrub. They tend to remain close to sources of water and are distributed across Central and South America.

Physical Description

White-lipped peccaries have a thick body, large head, and long snout. Their tails are small and their legs are thin. Their coarse hair is brown to black, with white sections underneath their neck and near their pelvis. Adults have forefeet with two large weight-bearing toes and two smaller toes that are only used on softer surfaces. Their hindfeet have two large toes and one smaller toe. All toes have hooves. White-lipped peccaries have large and sharp canine teeth.

Interesting Biology

Although these animals are active throughout the day and night, they tend to be nocturnal. As a nomadic species, they are constantly on the roam for food and water. They travel in herds of up to 200 members, which aids in protection against predators. They can travel over long distances and usually stay within a given place for only a day or two. White-lipped peccaries are gregarious and large groups can be quite loud. Their average lifespan is 13 years.

White-lipped peccaries breed year round, with females usually producing litters that range from 1 to 4 young. Incredibly, young peccaries can run within a few hours of being born.

White-lipped peccaries have an odd way of grooming each other. One peccary will groom another peccary’s scent glands by rubbing is head on the other’s hindquarters and scent glands.

White-lipped peccaries are listed as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN’s Red List.


White-lipped peccaries have an extremely varied diet. They primarily eat leaves, roots, fruit, seeds, mushrooms, worms, and insects. They will occasionally eat small animals like frogs, snakes, and lizards.


White-lipped peccaries are about 2.5 to 3.5 feet long, with a shoulder height around 1.5 feet. They tend to weigh 55 to 90 lbs.

Brief Taxonomy

Order: Cetartiodactyla.

Family: Tayassuidae.


Emmons, L. 1990. Neotropical Rainforest Mammals: A Field Guide. Chicago: UP.

Mayer, J., R. Wetzel. August 12, 1987. Tayassu pecari. Mammalian Species, 293: 1-7.