Monday, October 24, 2011

Wild Pigs Wander My World!

Wild Pigs Wander My World!

Javelina in the backyard garden - like a herd of mini-buffalo! 
By B. Marie Jarreau
Oct. 24, 2011

Finally, after months of hearing about Javelina (or collared peccary) in the area, I actually saw them with my own eyes this early morning!
Peaking out the back door around 4-4:30 a.m. just to take a look at the clear night sky I heard 'munching' below the tree-lined edge of the back yard.  Then I could just barely make-out little rounded shadows moving along as my eyes adjusted more to the low light!  I must say the pre-dawn experience was exciting!  There they were!

In the very spot I’d pointed out to a friend yesterday.  I’d thought the indentations might be Javelina tracks in the rocky Arizona sandscape beyond the patio. Here was confirmation – in the dimly-lit hour of early morning – that I was right! One of them lay down in a depression and seemed to rub his back into the wallow spot just as I had imagined they might have been doing.
I counted seven gray moving figures, including three smaller youngsters, but could hear more of them deeper in the trees - munching and crunching.  The group in the yard didn’t seem to know or care that I was watching them.  I imagine they were feeding on the fallen Mesquite bean pods that littered the ground. As I was able to make out the shapes of their rounded, mounded little bodies they looked more like a herd of mini-buffalo grazing beneath the mesquite and desert willow.

Nocturnal scavengers!
Viewing them ‘munching along’ in my backyard – I thought, “they’re kinda cute!”  

Then, as if on cue and just for me, I heard them ‘grunting’ like pigs. Actually wondered – if they might be talking to each other about me watching them; that the herd should be prepared to either run into the gulley or charge me! 

I remember how my neighbor Kelly says they’ve trashed her vegetable garden on a number of occasions until Dan put up a fence to protect their tomatoes and root crops. I remember reading something that explained how a herd of Javelina will attack and do mortal damage to a dog without provocation.
This morning, Google tells me: “Peccaries are aggressive enough in temperament that, unlike Eurasian pigs, they cannot be domesticated as they are likely to injure humans. In recent years in north-western Bolivia near Madidi National Park there have been reports of people being seriously injured and killed by large groups of peccaries.”

So maybe they’re not THAT cute!  And maybe I do want a bigger fence around my backyard!
(OK, I do understand they are actually not in the swine family, but really - if it looks lika a pig, acts like a pig, grunts like a pig, digs the ground with its snout like a pig, how can we not call it a pig!!! - LOL!)

Prickly pear - Javelina appetizer!


  • * All photos and written works copyrighted by B. Marie Jarreau unless otherwise noted.

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