Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Strange Allure: Peccaries

Before those of you who were miffed by my “Great Cats” entry can say anything, I’ll admit it myself: not everyone is as charmed by peccaries (a.k.a. “javelinas”) as I am. But I think that’s a real shame. After all, they’re so cute, with their bright-pink snouts and their dainty little feet and their extra-long eyelashes! How could you not love a peccary?

Although the exhibit’s been around for a while, I only discovered it last week, tucked alongside a boardwalk behind the Small Mammal House. The placard in front informs us that peccaries, though they look similar to swine, are actually not very closely related to them (and I later looked it up online—they’re in different taxonomic families). In fact, the title of the placard is “Don’t Call Me Pig!” –a line that induces in every visitor who passes it the irresistible urge to read it out loud. (Honest, every single one.)

As I watched these two peccaries, one got bored of lying around and decided to rouse its companion.

[waking up]

[waking someone else up]

Once s/he was up, they stood end to end and rubbed against one another (something to do with musk glands, maybe?).

[note the indentation in its fur from the other's rubbing]

Apparently that was enough intimacy, because the first peccary went off to lie on the cement and the second went for a mud wallow.

Is that cool or what!


Anca said...

They are very cute! And the indentation is fabulous.

Barbara Martin said...

They have such a reputation in the wild. I understand these wee beasties form herds in their natural habitat, and are quite capable of chasing and killing humans who make the mistake of encroaching on their territory.

Miffed? Me? Never. Surely you jest.

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