Thursday, November 5, 2015

First Javelina Sighting

I'm so excited!  I had my first javelina sighting since moving to Arizona three and a half years ago.  I think my guardian angel had her hands in on this one, because I was feeling urged to go next door to do a job my neighbor asked me to do in a couple of days.  Logically, there was no reason for me to do that job early, but I felt this persistent urge to get out there and do it now.

So, I walked across my driveway toward my neighbor's place, and paused.  She has statues of desert wildlife all over her property, but I don't remember her having a javelina statue, yet there was one right there in her driveway.  Then its head moved and I realized that this was a real pig!

I tip-toed back indoors to get my camera.  It turned out that there were two.  One was very wary of me, but the other didn't seem to sense me until it heard my camera click.  Then it lifted its head and turned to run.  I guess they don't have very good eyesight.

I don't know much about javelina behavior.  I've heard stories of people who had their little dogs snatched right off their leashes by these wild pigs.  I've heard stories about them charging people.  But I've also seen lots of pictures of people illegally feeding them and socializing with them on friendly terms.

Now I'm wondering if that rooting and snorting we heard just beneath our porch the other night was a javelina, as opposed to a coyote trying to get to that dead rabbit.  We haven't had any javelina in our neighborhood since I've lived here.  I wonder what kind of an effect they have on horses.  If they've been out in the desert while I've been riding, that could explain why Rock has been so hesitant to go where I point him lately.  It takes horses a while to become comfortable around new animals.

UPDATE:  A little while later I went down to the barn the shovel manure and noticed that Bombay was alerting on the hill.  Every morning I've been having to deal with strangers standing up on that cliff watching me do my chores, and it has been getting on my nerves.  Sometimes it's that old couple that bicycles up to my back yard to watch me and my horses, sometimes it's a couple of joggers, and sometimes it is a group of people who walk their dogs off leash.  I'm sure these are mostly snowbirds who live out of their RVs, because I never see them during the summer.  They are bored, and I suspect that spying on me in my back yard is the highlight of their days.

Earlier this morning it was the dog walkers.  I had Scrappy outside off leash, so I kept a close eye on them and their dogs.  I'm pretty sure that Scrappy got his name from his compulsion to fight with other dogs.  Despite being little, he does not back down.  If the lurkers made any attempt to come through my property, I would have to grab my dog and put him in the house, and then deal with them.  Fortunately, they just watched me for a while and then turned to go back the way they came.

Anyway, when Bombay alerted on the hill, I turned around expecting to see more potential trespassers, but instead I saw four javelina cutting across the hill.  Two continued across into my property, and two others walked up the hill into the street toward the neighbor's house who owns all those guns and lets his little grand kids shoot wildlife on my property.  I was half-expecting to hear a gunshot shortly after that, but I think the man was in his house and didn't see them.  I find it fascinating that the javelina aren't spooked by civilization.  They have no qualms with walking right up to people's houses to sniff around.

Now that I know they are haunting this neighborhood, I'll be more careful about letting the dogs outside off leash.  I do supervise the dogs when I let them out, but I've been feeling more and more comfortable not bothering to put on leashes, because we haven't had any rattlesnakes or coyotes in our back yard in a long time.  However, it just rained for two days, and the wildlife behavior always changes with the weather.


Tina said...

You always have the coolest pictures!!!!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Thanks, Tina. It turns out that it was a good thing I kept my distance and used my zoom lens, because people are most often attacked by javelina when they try to get in too close to take pictures.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Oh, I should probably mention that I am aware that javelina are not pigs nor a part of the pig family. It's just easier for me to call them piggies, because that is the animal they look like that most people are familiar with.

achieve1dream said...

That's so cool that you finally saw some!!! I bet that is what you heard the other night. The squealing. It would make sense. So cool!