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Chacoan Peccary (Catagonus wagneri) Fact Sheet: Reproduction & Development

Chacoan Peccary (Catagonus wagneri)

Reproduction

  • Young are born year round, though births peak during time of abundant food and rainfall (Taber et al. 2011)
  • Reproductive rate
    • Females in the wild mature from 2 years; females in managed care may mature sooner (1.2 years of age)
    • Young females usually had smaller litters than older females
  • One litter per year

Gestation and Birth

Gestation

  • 151 days
  • Farrowing season is September-January. Most wild births in Paraguay (93%) occur September through October, a period that coincides with the transition from the dry (May-October) to the wet season (November-April). Births in managed care at Proyecto Taguá occur throughout the year but peak September-November.

Birth

  • Lone females may leave the herd just prior to parturition and rejoin it in about a week. Young usually remain under their dam or close alongside her. 
  • Able to run within 2 hours of birth. 
  • At birth: Deciduous teeth consist of the third lower incisor and lower and upper canines.
  • Small litter size: usually 2 or 3 (range: 1-4)

Life Stages

Infants (<1 month of age):  

  • Pelage coloration (until the age of 3-4 months) is grizzled tan and black, with a black back stripe, tan shoulder collar, and white underside. 
  • Neonates are precocial and travel with the herd at less than 1 week of age. Observations at Proyecto Taguá suggest that group tolerance and acceptance of infants is greater than in other species of peccaries. 
  • Begin to eat solid food at 14-17 days. 
  • During 1st week: Body weight is 500-1,050 g. Two females born at Phoenix Zoo weighed 900 and 1,050 g, respectively, at 2 days of age (GL Thomas, personal communication).  
  • At about 1 month:  
    • Body weight is 2-2.9 kg. 
    • Body (snout-tail) length is 46 cm. 
    • Deciduous teeth consist of the third lower incisor, lower and upper canines, and the first and second, lower and upper premolars. 

Juveniles (1-12 months of age):  

  • Body weight is 4.5-18 kg. 
  • Body length is 78-93 cm (males) to 91-95 cm (females). 
  • Adult coloration at 3-4 months of age. 
  • Deciduous dentition is complete: 2/3, incisors; 1/1, canines; 3/3, premolars; total, 26. 
  • In a 1.7-hectare enclosure, young visited a feeding station independent of adults as early as 70 days of age. 
  • Scent gland grooming begins at this stage of development. 

Young adults (1-2 years of age):  

  • Body weight is 23-24.5 kg (females) and 23.5-24 kg (males). 
  • Body length is 97-104 cm (males) to 100-122 cm (females). 
  • Most deciduous teeth are replaced with permanent teeth. 
  • Chacoan peccaries in the wild possibly breed around 2 years of age, but in managed care, conception can occur before 1 year; female collared peccaries reach first estrus as early as 33 weeks. 
  • Sexual maturity: from 2 years of age

Adults (>2 years of age):  

  • Body weight is 29.5-40 kg (males) and 30.5-38.5 kg (females); 43.5 kg for a pregnant female. 
  • Body length is 96-116 cm (males) to 103-117 cm (females). 
  • Permanent dentition is in place.

Longevity

(Taber et al. 2011)

In the wild

  • Maximum longevity unknown; thought to be at least 9 years

In managed care

  • Some individuals have lived to be 10.5 years

Mortality and Health

  • Annual mortality in the Paraguayan Chaco was 47%. Among animals in managed care at Proyecto Taguá (western Paraguay), mortality was 50% between birth and 3 months of age and 4% between 3 and 12 months.
  • Mountain lions and jaguars are known predators; ocelots may prey on young.

Young Peccaries

Three young Chacoan Peccaries nursing

Three peccaries at the San Diego Zoo nurse from their mother.

Chacoan peccaries have few young—2-3 per breeding cycle is typical.

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.

Page Citations

Benirschke & Heuschele (1993)
Benirschke et al. (1990)
Brooks (1992)
Handen & Benirschke (1991)
Hayssen et al. (1993)
Mayer & Brandt (1982)
Mayer & Wetzel (1986)
Redford & Eisenberg (1992)
Sowls (1997)
Taber (1990)
Taber et al. (1993)
Unger (1999)
Wetzel (1977)
Yahnke et al. (1997)

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