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Heyyyy...Javelina!

Heyyyy...Javelina!

Although the javelina, or collared peccary, looks a lot like a small pig, it is neither a pig nor a wild boar nor a feral hog. This very distant relative of wild pigs and hippos has razor-sharp canine teeth (“tusks”) and a full-grown weight of 35 to 55 pounds, about half the size of a feral hog. Its coat is a mixture of black and grey or black and brown that is called grizzled, and a “collar’ of white hair runs around its neck.

The javelina is sometimes called the musk hog because of its musky odor. This odor is so strong that you will usually smell a javelina well before you actually see it.

The javelina lives in the southwestern United States (Texas, New Mexico and Arizona) as well as Mexico, Central and South America. It likes to travel in small family groups or bands. The average group is six to 12, but groups of 50 or more have been reported. Usually calm, the javelina can become an aggressive little creature if I’ts provoked or frightened.

The javelina is omnivorous (which means it eats both plants and animals), but it likes plants best, and its favorite food is the prickly pear cactus. If you’re in the Southwest and you see a thicket of prickly pear, there are probably some javelinas nearby.

Fast Facts

 1.) Texas A&M University at Kingsville, Texas, is the only university in the country to have a javelina as its mascot.

 2.) The javelina is very vocal, with different sounds for different behaviors such as when it’s mad, scared or on guard.

 3.) The javelina has four-hoofed toes on its front feet, but only three on the hind feet.

 4.) Javelinas have poor eyesight, so they rub against other members of their group with their scent glands, marking them with their powerful odor. In this way, group members can recognize each other by smell alone.

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Critter Corner Javelina

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