Though some people think javelina are a type of wild pig, they are actually members of the peccary family, a group of hoofed mammals originating from South America. Javelina form herds of two to more than 20 animals and rely on each other to defend territory, protect against predators, regulate temperature and interact socially. They use washes and areas with dense vegetation as travel corridors. Javelina are most active at night, but they may be active during the day when it is cold. They have peppered black, gray and brown hair with a faint white collar around the shoulders. They range from 40-60 pounds, stand approximately 19 inches tall and have a keen sense of smell. They have very poor eyesight and may appear to be charging when they’re actually trying to escape. They live an average of 7-8 years.
Javelina need a water source for drinking and eat primarily plants, including cacti, succulent plants, bulbs, tubers, beans and seeds; sometimes eat insects, garbage and grubs.
Javelina will likely visit occasionally if you live in a semi-urban area near a wash or other natural desert. Javelina usually cause only minor problems for people by surprising them or eating a few plants. However, people should NEVER feed javelina. This can cause them to become regular visitors and lose their fear of people, creating problems for the neighborhood and often leading to the death of the javelina. Javelina occasionally bite humans, but incidents of bites are almost always associated with people providing the javelina with food. Javelina can inflict a serious wound. Defensive javelina behavior may include charging, teeth clacking, or a barking, growling sound. Javelina may act defensively when cornered, to protect their young, or when they hear or smell a dog. Dogs and coyotes are natural predators of javelina, and they can seriously hurt or kill each other. Javelina around your home may also inadvertently attract mountain lions, because mountain lions prey on javelina.
Scare off javelina by making loud noises (bang pots, yell, stomp on the floor, etc.); throwing small rocks in their direction; or spraying with vinegar, water from a garden hose, or large squirt gun filled with diluted household ammonia (1 part ammonia and 9 parts water). The odor of the ammonia and the nasal irritation it causes will encourage the javelina to leave. Avoid spraying ammonia in the eyes as it may cause damage even at this low concentration. Ammonia should not be used around wetlands because it is toxic to fish and amphibians. If the javelina is confined, open a gate, have all people leave the area, and allow it to leave on its own. If it is still there the following day, contact the javelina removal experts at Critter Control by calling 1-800-CRITTER.
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