White-Lipped Peccaries

Photo of White-Lipped Peccaries

White-Lipped Peccary


The White-Lipped Peccary (Tayassu pecari) is a social, herd-dwelling ungulate with a distinctive white upper lip. Native to the forests of Belize, these medium-sized mammals are known for their robust build and herding behavior.

Interesting Facts

  • Scientific Name: Tayassu pecari
  • Habitat: Inhabits diverse ecosystems in Belize, including rainforests and woodlands.
  • Diet: Omnivores, feeding on fruits, nuts, roots, and occasionally small animals; important for seed dispersal.
  • Behavior: Form large herds; strong social structure; crucial for maintaining the balance of ecosystems in Belize.

Fun Facts

  • When eating, peccaries spit out the larger seeds from fruits.
  • Peccaries are considered ecosystem engineers because they are able to modify their habitat through trampling, rooting, digging,resting and wallowing. These modifications create microhabitats for other organisms to benefit from.
  • Apart from physical and olfactory contact, peccaries also use acoustic contact to communicate with each other. Their sounds are characterised as sharp or deep barks, low growls or moans and raspy bleats. When alarmed peccaries will also clatter their teeth.
  • The Belize Zoo is home to “Big Mama” one of the four white-lipped peccaries in our care.

Conservation Efforts

Once found throughout the forests of Central America in the hundreds, this heavily hunted species is now listed as Vulnerable, and has seen a dramatic decline in population. In Belize, peccaries are a game species. To ensure their survival through reproduction, hunting season is closed from June to November-meaning that it is illegal to hunt for peccaries during this period.

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