Sunday, February 15, 2009

"Our Neighbors Are Pigs..."

Well, not really, our 2 footed neighbors are actually quite nice!  These "neighbors" are rather odd looking and not really pigs at all, they are Javelina, or collared peccaries.

Javalina have a very good sense of smell and really poor eyesight.   They are a small animal, and stand about 1.5 feet at the shoulders and are about 3 feet long from nose to tail. Their average weight is from 40-60 pounds. Javelina travel in herds ranging anywhere from 8-27 animals (the largest ever counted was a herd of 54). Their dorsal scent gland and their sharp sense of smell, helps each javelina identify other members of the herd.  You most likely will "smell" one coming before you see them!!

Javelina are usually found in the low to mid-altitude deserts and cactus desert grasslands between 1,000 and 5,000 feet.  Sometimes they will travel into the higher altitudes for food which may include pinyon pine-juniper, oak, and pine-oak vegetation between 4,000 and 7,000 feet but they don't live there.

Javelina are pretty much herbivores (plant eaters), although they have been known to eat insects once in a while. They primarily eat cactus and other spiny and succulent plants, roots, tubers, and pods .

Javelina babies, or "piglings," are born pretty much all year long, with the highest numbers born in June. A litter consists of one to four piglings, with an average of two.  They are just the cutest little things, you wonder how they can keep up with the herd as their legs are so short! Mother Javelina are very protective of their young, and they WILL go after you if you come upon them and they have their babies with them.  They have been known to attack dogs and kill them.  So when we walk our dog we walk with a large walking stick and we try not to walk during the time the "locals" come out to forage for the night!!

Our "neighbors" are quite in tune with the beat of the rest of the "hood".  They seem to know which night is the night before garbage day.  We see large herds of them (usually the same herd as they are very territorial) roaming down the subdivision streets on Monday nights!  We learned to not put our trash out the night before as they knock over the trash cans and forage through the weekly throw aways!!  They make quite a mess....many of the old time neighbors still insist on putting their cans out on Monday's and they can more often than not be seen Tuesday mornings in their bathrobes picking up trash!  We also learned, quite early on, to keep our garage door closed because they will go through there as well rooting around looking for something good to eat!

This guy seemed to be alone today, maybe he was the scouting party leader for tonights feast....and the night before garbage day is tomorrow!!


myminimocs said...

well they really are just the cutest little things aren't they! they're probably very much like racoons are here - they travel in bunches and go through EVERYTHING to find a tid-bit of something yummy! thanks for sharing they're great photos!

Amanda said...

hahahahah!!! how funny!!!!

BeadedTail said...

I've never seen anything like that before! What an interesting looking creature!