Tis the season for Javelina! Recently we have captured a lot of Javelina footage on our backyard cameras. Per our observation, we see a lot more Javelinas between September-May. Like everyone else, once summer hits, they are not as active and seek cool shelter from those 100+ degree temps. My Mom has told me some interesting stories about her encounters with Javelina.
Several years ago, before I was born, Mommy and my late brother, Lancelot, went walking on a trail in residential area. As they were about to cross the street to pick-up the rest of the trail, a Javelina jumped out of the bush and turned to walk in the opposite direction. Mom and Lancelot froze and did not cross the street until the Javelina cleared. Lancelot, a Brittany Spaniel who had a penchant for barking, was completely still and voiceless while they both watched the numerous Javelinas emerge from the bush. Eighteen Javelinas later, Mom and Lancelot continued their walk.
Because Javelinas are social and family oriented, they travel in a herd – typically 5 or more but it is not uncommon to see 10 or more. The dominant male leads the herd. Javelinas will fiercely defend and protect their babies. While some people may not find the Javelina a very attractive animal, no one can deny that their babies are adorable.
When Mom and Lancelot encountered the herd of Javelinas, they knew to quietly yield to the Javelina since several babies were part of their herd. Like most animals, if they do not feel threatened, they will just continue to go about their business. However, if they are threatened, they will attack – and you do not want to get bit by a Javelina, they have some big chompers!
Here are some WILD FACTS about Javelinas:
- Although they resemble pigs and share an ancestral lineage Javelinas are Peccaries. Pigs are members of the Suidae family, while peccaries are members of the Tayassuidae family.
- Peccaries, pigs, giraffes, hippopotamuses and musk deer share the same order (Artiodactyla).
- There are three types of Peccary – Collared, White-Lipped, and Chacoan. The Collared Peccary is the only one found in North America – with their range being the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. They are also found in Mexico.
- They stand about 2 feet tall and can weigh between 35 and 55 pounds. They are 3 to 4 feet long.
- They are quite odiferous – Javelinas emit a musky, skunky smell; thus, the reason they are also called the Musk Hog or Skunk Pig.
- They live to be about 10 years old.
- In Spanish, Javelina means “wild sow.”
- They are classified as herbivores (plant eaters) and enjoy a variety of native plant foods such as prickly pear cactus, agave, mesquite beans, roots, tubers, and other green vegetation. During Halloween, they are known to steal pumpkins left outside
- Main predators of the Collared Peccary include coyotes, mountain lions, and humans.
- Although they may have an odd-shaped body, Javelina are pretty fast. One was recorded at sprinting up to 35 mph.