Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J is for.....

J is for.....Javelina

Though some people think javelinas (the j is pronounced like an h, as in jalapeno) are a type of wild pig, they are actually members of the peccary family, a group of hoofed mammals originating from South America. I could try to explain the difference between a peccary and a pig, but frankly, I'm not really sure what the difference is. Apparently there is one, and that's good enough for me. Moral of the story, javelinas are not pigs.

Javelinas are common in much of central and southern Arizona, and they are very common in our yard. We moved to our current house in 2006, and our yard is a travel corridor for a herd of javelinas. The experts say you shouldn't feed javelinas, and ordinarily we don't. The one concession we make is Halloween. Why throw away perfectly good pumpkins when these guys will gladly eat them? Our neighbor does feed the javelinas, so they've made our yard part of their daily route.

We normally see 6-8 javelinas in our little herd. I don't know if they're the same 6-8 from year to year, but we like to think there's some continuity. In the spring we see babies, and let me tell ya, those babies are damn cute. My girls nearly lose their minds. This picture is a little blurry, but you get the point, there's is some serious wildlife going on in our front yard.


  1. I'll take your javelinas over our coyotes, though you probably have both. And, oh my goodness, the babies ARE cute.

  2. LG: Oh yeah, plenty of coyotes too.

  3. Does that mean javelinas are kosher?

  4. I learned something new today, thank you.

  5. I've never heard of these before! How cool that they have a route right thru your yard. We used to have a pair of red foxes that visited regularly, but they've both passed on now. Luckily, the coyotes that moved into the neighborhood to take their places stay away from our end of the street ;-)

  6. I know several people (This is in Colorado, mind you) that will argue the point that "words that start with a J should be said with a J." Yes, even Jal-a-peen-o. Being the enlightened soul that I am (but mostly being from Arizona,) I know they're wrong. But I don't correct them most of the time, because 1) they don't want to hear it, and 2)I think ignorance be tremendously entertaining.
    Didn't know you were in AZ - thought you were up north? Tell the Wildcats and Cardinals I say Hi if you see them.

  7. OMG the baby is soo cute! *reverts to 12yr old girl status whenever seeing baby animals*
    Wagging Tales - Blog for Writers

  8. If it looks like a pig and smells like a pig....

    Have you smelt one?

    Haha. Funny, I have never heard of one before.

  9. Munk: There are people who hunt them. Javelina meat? Pretty crazy.

    OT & Katie: I never knew about javelinas until I moved here.

    Jane: They sure are cute.

    Mickey: Used to live up north, still go back for a while every summer, but I am a full-fledged desert dweller these days.

    Tara: Stumped by javelinas?

    Charmaine: Imagine all the chaos with my 8 and 10 year old daughters!

    James: You know what, they are rather pungent. My wife can smell them from quite a distance, but I need to be fairly close.

  10. I love pigs, but I think seeing those javelinas running around would freak me out.

    - allison writes

  11. I've never heard of these guys. Seem like an great addition to a back yard though, interesting post and good luck with k

  12. Oh my gosh I love this post. I'd never heard of javelinas. Great pictures!