species pigs true
PECCARY. Under this name are included two species of small pig-like animals forming the genus Dicotyles of Cuvier, belonging to the section Suina of the Artiodactyle Ungulates (see MAMMALIA, vol. xv. p. 430). They are peculiar to the New World, and in it are the only surviving members of the large group now represented in the Old World by the various species of swine, babirussas, wart-hogs, and hippopotami.
The teeth of the peccaries differ from those of the true pigs (genus Sus) numerically, in wanting the upper outer incisor and the anterior premolar on each side of each jaw, the dental formula being i c i, p -g-, m ;4, total 38. The upper canines have their points directed downwards, not outwards or upwards as in the boars, and they are very sharp, with cutting hinder edges, and completely covered with enamel until worn. The lower canines are large and directed upwards and outwards, and slightly curved backwards. The premolar and molar teeth form a continuous series, gradually increasing in size from the first to the last. The true molars have square quadricuspidate crowns. The stomach is much more complex than in the true pigs, almost approaching that of a ruminant. In the feet the two middle (third and fourth) metapodial bones, which are completely separate in the pigs, are united at their upper ends, as in the ruminants. On the fore foot the two (second and fifth) outer toes are equally developed as in pigs, but on the hind foot, although the inner (or second) is present, the outer or fifth toe is entirely wanting, giving an unsymmetrical appearance of the member, very unusual in Artiodactyles. As in all other existing Ungulates, there is no trace of a first digit (pollex or hallux) on either foot. As in the pigs, the snout is truncated, and the nostrils are situated in its flat, expanded, disk-like termination. The ears are rather small, ovate, and erect ; and there is no external appearance of a tail. The surface is well covered with thick bristly hair, and rather behind the middle of the back is a large and peculiar gland, which secretes an oleaginous substance with a powerful musky odour. This was mistaken by the old travellers for a second navel, a popular error which suggested to Cuvier the name of Dicotyles. When the animal is killed for food, it is necessary speedily to remove this gland, otherwise it will taint the whole flesh so as to render it uneatable.
There are two species, so nearly allied that they will breed together freely in captivity. Unlike the true pigs, they never appear to produce more than two young ones at a birth.
districts of Central and South America as far as the Rio Negro of Patagonia. Generally it is found singly or in pairs, or at most in small herds of from eight to ten, and is a comparatively harmless creature, not being inclined to attack other animals or human beings. Its colour is dark grey, with a white or whitish band passing across the chest from shoulder to shoulder. The length of the head and body is about 36 inches. The white-lipped peccary or warree (D. labiatus, Cuvier) is rather larger, being about 40 inches in length, of a blackish colour, with the lips and lower jaw white. Its range is less extensive ; it is not found farther north than British Honduras or south of Paraguay. It is generally met with in large droves of from fifty to a hundred or more individuals, and is of a more pugnacious disposition than the former species, and capable of inflicting severe wounds with its sharp tusks. A hunter who encounters a herd of them in a forest has often to climb a tree as his only chance of safety. Both species are omnivorous, living on roots, fallen fruits, worms, and carrion ; and when the;, approach the neighbourhood of villages and cultivated lands they often inflict great devastation upon the crops of the inhabitants.
Fossil remains of extinct species of peccaries of the Pleistocene period have been found in the caves of Brazil, and also as far north as Virginia and South Carolina. They have also been traced backwards in time, with apparently little modification of structure, to the Upper Miocene formations of Oregon.