Chacoan peccary in exhibit

Chacoan Peccary

Scientific Name

Catagonus wagneri






South America’s Gran Chaco region


Low, dry forests

Estimated Wild Population

Chacoan peccary in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Endangered IUCN Conservation Status: Endangered

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Physical Description

Chacoan peccaries are pig-like mammals with bristly, brown-gray fur; tough, leathery snouts; a strong jaw and tusks used for crushing seeds and slicing plant roots; and scent glands on their ridged back that give off a strong, musky odor. Weighing 65–95 pounds, they are the largest and least common of the three peccary species. Chacoan peccaries get much of their water from succulent plants and vital minerals from salt licks, and occasionally eat roots, seed pods, and flowers. They live in herds of up to 10 individuals.

Interesting Fact 1

Chacoan peccaries have specialized kidneys that break down cactus acid, and their two-chambered stomach is well-suited to digest tough foods.

Interesting Fact 2

Their back produces a milky, odorous substance that helps them mark their territory and identify other individuals.

Interesting Fact 3

Before eating cactuses, peccaries remove the spine by rolling them on the ground with their tough snout.

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