Coche the collared peccary started out as the pet of some local authors, despite the fact that, according to Zoo director Belle Benchley in 1939, two keepers were severely injured by peccaries because they were “deceived by the apparently friendly little pigs.” The owners raised Coche with a baby raccoon named Goggles and featured the two in their “bottle baby stories.”
The animals were devoted to each other, and Coche was devoted to his master, “whom he knew and followed only as a pair of feet and trouser leg bottoms” and squealed ardently when his master was out of sight. Goggles could not resist late forays into the neighborhood, and to get him to come home, his owners would pick up the peccary, causing him to squeal, and Goggles would come running back to “save” his friend.
Occasionally they would escape together, exploring the neighborhood by night. Coche had learned to knock on the door with his hoof when he wanted in or out, and sometimes he did this at other homes—much to the consternation of whoever opened the door! These exploits came to an end, however, when Coche viciously attacked his mistress one day. His master gave the rambunctious animal pair to the Zoo, where they could be cared for properly and still visit with humans.