Difference Between Collared Peccary And Pygmy Hog
The Tupi Indians of Brazil have a word for “the animal that makes many paths through the woods.” That word is “peccary.” The collared peccary is a forest animal that lives in South America. In the woods and jungles of Brazil, families of collared peccaries run, single file, down narrow paths of their own making. However, the collared peccary has learned to live in many different habitats. It ranges as far north as Arizona and Texas. There it can be found in brushy deserts and rocky canyons.
In the South American rain forest, peccaries enjoy year-round warmth. But in North America, they must survive major changes in temperature. During the summer, they avoid the strong desert sun by grazing in the early morning and at twilight. Midday is a time for sleeping in the shade of a cave or a bush. But in winter, North American peccaries must seek warmth. They are active during the day and sleep cuddled together at night. The black tips of the peccary’s bristles help absorb the sun’s heat during the winter. They break off during the summer, giving the peccary a lighter, cooler coat.
The collared peccary has a distinctive white ring around its shoulders. It is one of three species in its family. Peccaries give birth throughout the year, usually to twins. The young often stay with their parents for their entire lives. When newborn arrive, older sisters help care for them and sometimes even nurse them.
People who have traveled to India often remark upon the elephant grass, a type of grass that grows as tall as an adult human. Few humans would try to make their way through these dense, nearly junglelike stands. But what seems impossible for a human to penetrate is home sweet home to the pygmy hog, a harmless little creature that now stands in grave danger of extinction. The pygmy hog’s forbidding habitat has been all but destroyed, making the animal easy prey for hunters who savor its tender meat.
Those few pygmy hogs that remain spend their days slipping between the tough grass stems in an unending search for food. Like all pigs, the pygmy hog is not a picky eater, dining on whatever’s available. Its preferred food seems to be leaves, fruits, roots, and other plant matter, although the pygmy hog never turns its snout up at earthworms, bird eggs, insects, or even the rotting flesh of dead animals.
Each pygmy hog builds itself a cavelike nest in which to sleep and as a haven against predators and bad weather. The creature goes about its nest building in a very businesslike manner. First it uses its snout and front hooves to scoop out a depression in the ground. Then the hog fills the depression with a large pile of grass. Finally the creature hollows out a nest in the center of the pile.