07 Feb What Is A Javelina?
One day while visiting Fort Davis State Park, we were sitting outside around the picnic table when all of a sudden in the tall grass behind us we heard a rustling noise. Then our mouths fell open as right before us were about 5 of the strangest looking animals we had ever seen. As we sat frozen for what seemed like an hour, these little critters just made themselves at home in our campsite. I didn’t know at this point if I should scare them off, grab up the children and head for the bus or just sit. I chose to just sit in amazement and witness something that I might ever see again.
As these critters sniffed the ground just 2 feet from our toes, they sounded like a pig. They looked like a pig and they acted like a pig. But we learned they were not a pig! They are Javelina’s. (pronounced havelina).
Here are a few things that we learned about the Javelinas.
Javelina or collared peccary does not belong in the domestic hog or wild boar family. Even though it looks like a pig it is not because it has only one dew claw on its hind foot and it has four teats with only two that function to feed their young.
Javelinas in the wild have a life expectancy of about 10 years.
Javelinas like fajitas and other home-cooked meals!
They are omnivorous (they eat anything – meat and plant). Which is why they would come running when I cooked fajitas outside the bus. As soon as the fajita smell drifted through the air, it was like I rang a dinner bell calling them to the table. One evening as I cooked dinner, I had to chuckle out loud because I had this image of 6 Javelinas staring through the tall grass behind me, licking their snouts and just waiting on the dinner bell to ring. Oh and just so you know, we didn’t feed them. Feeding wildlife is NOT a good idea.
In Texas, the Prickly Pear Cactus is their main diet. The Javelina will actually scoot the Prickly Pear leaf along the ground to break off some of the longer thorns before eating its favorite snack. In addition to the Prickly Pear Cacti, the Javelina will eat vines and grass.
Most of the time Javelina’s are harmless.
Javelina’s weigh on average about 55lbs. They have 2-inch canine teeth used for cutting, slashing, and eating. However, they are not usually dangerous to humans. They are not said to be aggressive and will most of the time retreat away from humans unless they feel threatened. The coyote is the biggest threat to the Javelina because the coyote eat the young Javelinas.
Camping around wildlife
One thing we love about bus life is getting to see wildlife that we would not otherwise get to see. Javelina look like, sound like, and act like a pig with long legs. We enjoyed watching them in the evenings. Keeping our trash in the bus and cleaning up our mess outside was a must. I’m sure these critters could tear up our tent in they so desired. We have to remember that WE are invading THEIR space. Camping around wildlife can be a fun learning experience just remember to not feed, touch, and threaten the animals. Use common sense!