Peccaries are wild animals, closely related to the pig. The three subspecies of peccary are all native to the Americas. The Spanish would have never run into animals like peccaries before and most likely would have thought them a type of wild pig. A very small wild pig, much smaller domesticated pigs and wild boar in Europe. Still edible, however, and quite tasty for explorers on the trail. 

Collared Peccary

The three subspecies of peccary are the collared peccary, the white-lipped peccary, and the tagua. Most of my focus has been on the collared peccary, since collared peccaries are native to the area Coronado was exploring. Or more specifically, the area near Arizona and Mexico. 

These little animals feed off of plant shoots and bulbs, digging up whatever food they can. They’re rather shy and stay away from humans whenever possible. It’s possible the Spanish would have run across them mostly by luck at first, and later only when hunting them as another food source. The native peoples would have used peccaries as food often, though not as often as with crops. Peccary would have been more an extra food, rather than a staple. 

Peccary are more in the background of the situation going on than anything else. They would have probably called ‘wild pigs’ if they were called anything at all. Noticed only for the food they provided. They do make sounds but are pretty quiet, overall. 

In conclusion, the peccary do not play a huge role in Coronado’s journey. However, they were there and play a smaller role instead, to provide the necessary background of the situation. 


Blashfield, Jean F. “Peccaries.” In The Gale Encyclopedia of Science, 5th ed., edited by K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner, 3275-3276. Vol. 6. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2014. General OneFile (accessed February 20, 2019). [An encyclopedia entry on peccary, a native animal to the area.]

Manin, Aurélie, and Christine Lefèvre. “The Use of Animals in Northern Mesoamerica, between the Classic and the Conquest (200-1521 AD). An Attempt at Regional Synthesis on Central Mexico.” Anthropozoologica 51, no. 2 (2016): 127-47. doi:10.5252/az2016n2a5. [Online article on animals commonly used in the area conquered by the Spaniards.]

Geneva Brown, Analysis and Reflections, UCCS

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