Living With Wild Animals - Javelina

This information is from the Arizona Game and Fish Department website:

These javelina photos were taken by Dove Valley Ranch residents of javelina near their homes.


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 are common in much of central and southern Arizona, including the outskirts of the Phoenix area, most of Tucson, and occasionally as far north as Flagstaff. 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 may be active during the day when it's cold. 

Description and Habits

  • Peppered black, gray and brown hair with a faint white collar around the shoulders
  • 40-60 pounds
  • Approximately 19 inches tall
  • Young born year-round, most often from November to March
  • Average litter of two
  • Newborns up to 3 months old are red-brown or tan and are called "reds"
  • Live an average of 7.5 years
  • Very poor eyesight, may appear to be charging when actually trying to escape
  • Keen sense of smell
  • Will roll in water and mud to cool off
  • Scent gland on back; animals from the same herd stand side-by-side and rub each other's scent glands with their heads; use scents to identify animals from different herds
  • Need a water source for drinking
  • Eat primarily plants, including cacti, succulent plants, bulbs, tubers, beans and seeds; sometimes eat insects, garbage and grubs

Possible Conflicts with Humans and Pets 
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 almost always when people were 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 inadvertently attract mountain lions as well, because javelina are mountain lion prey. 

What Attracts Them?

Javelina usually visit homes to find food, water or shelter.
  • Food for javelina can include lush vegetation and many flowers and succulent plants that people place around their homes. Birdseed, table scraps and garbage can also attract javelina.
  • Water can be provided through chewing on an irrigation hose or by drinking from a pool or other water source around a home. Javelina will also dig and roll in moist soil during summer days to keep cool.
  • Shelter can take the form of a porch, an area under a mobile home, a crawlspace beneath a house, or any other cave-like area. Javelina will seek shade during summer days and warmth during the winter, if these areas are not properly secured.

What Should I Do?
If javelina have become a problem or have caused property damage, you can do a number of things, listed below, to deal with the situation. Do your part to keep javelina healthy and wild because their removal almost always means death. Always work with your neighbors to achieve a consistent solution to the problem.


To discourage a javelina, immediately:

Scare off animals by making loud noises (bang pots, yell, stomp on the floor, etc.), throwing small rocks in their direction, or spraying with water from a garden hose or large squirt gun filled with diluted ammonia (10% ammonia and 90% water).

If the animal 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 a wildlife control business  or the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

If you see javelina while walking your dog, avoid going near the javelina and quickly take your dog in a different direction.

To prevent further problems:

  • Don't feed javelina!
  • Feed pets inside or only what they can eat in one sitting. Don't allow birdseed to fall to the ground and/or fence any bird feeding areas. Store birdseed, livestock feed, rodent bait and pet food inside. Do not leave quail blocks where javelina can access them. Pick up fallen fruit and nuts as quickly as possible.
  • Keep water sources above the reach of javelina or behind strong fencing.
  • Contain garbage and compost. Secure garbage cans with locking lids or by attaching to a fence or wall. Put garbage cans at the curb on the morning of pickup rather than the night before. Clean out cans with a bleach solution to reduce attractive odors.
  • Keep dogs on a leash and/or inside a fenced yard to prevent defensive attacks.