Chacoan Peccary

True Wild Life | Chacoan Peccary | The Chacoan peccary or Tagua is a species of peccary found in the dry shrub habitat or Chaco of Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina. About 3000 exist in the world. It is believed to be the closest living relative to the extinct genus Platygonus. The Chacoan peccary has the unusual distinction of having been first described in 1930 based on fossils and was originally thought to be an extinct species. In 1975 the animal was discovered to still be alive and well in the Chaco region of Paraguay. The species was well known to the native people, but it took a while for scientists to rediscover its existence. It is known locally as the tagua.

Chacoan peccaries have received the nickname "pigs from green hell" because of their wild, impenetrable habitats.[citation needed] The Chacoan peccary is confined to hot, dry areas. Dominated by low-lying succulents and thorny bushes, the Gran Chaco is approximately 140,000 square kilometers. There are a few scattered giant trees, but the majority of the vegetation is thorny scrub vegetation. The Chacoan peccary has developed adaptations like well-developed sinuses to combat dry, dusty conditions. The feet are also small, which allows maneuverability among spiny plants.

Chacoan peccaries often travel in herds of up to twenty individuals. They are active during the day, especially in the morning when they are most apt to travel. Herds display a general travel cycle within the homerange of 42 days. This allows the individuals to monitor and show ownership over their areas. These social mammals communicate by various sounds ranging from grunts to chatters of the teeth. Even though individuals may occasionally exhibit aggressive behavior like charging and biting, this species is not as aggressive as others.

As a defensive strategy, members of a herd may line up in a defensive wall; this makes the herds easy targets for hunters. The Chacoan peccary produces a milky, odorous substance that is used for marking trees, shrubs and similar. The substance is secreted from glands located on the back, and is dispersed by rubbing. Frequently bathing in mud or dust, Chacoan peccaries also defecate at particular "stations".