Tayassu tajacu.

Weight: 35-55 pounds
Height: 1.5 to 2 feet at shoulder.
Eats roots, fruit, cacti, and seeds. Especially enjoys prickly pear cactus. Tough, leathery snouts allow them to eat cacti and other spiny poky desert stuff without getting any mouth owies.

Lives in Arizona and Texas, south to Argentina.
Looks like a smallish wild boar.
The name "javelina" comes from the Spanish word for javelin, big surprise there, cause of its wicked sharp tusks. In Arizona, the javelina is also known as a "collared peccary," because of the grayish-white band of fur around its neck.

Javelinas live in family groups of 5 to 15. They evolved in the tropical jungles of South America, but have found magical mystical ways to survive the extreme conditions of the southwest region of the U.S. To escape the summer heat, they feed mainly at dawn and dusk. They eat whatever is available -- fruit, nuts, roots and tubers. When water gets scarce, they eat the mushy pulp of the prickly pear cactus. In cold weather, they huddle together for warmth. FUCKING BRILLIANT! Occasionally they are prey to mountain lions and bears, but they can defend themselves against many smaller predators like coyotes and dogs. They've got kinda crappy eyesight.

In Arizona and Texas, they dig up gardens, fight with dogs, and occasionally bite homeowners. They will rip your ass up. Javelina season is in Jan. and Feb.

If you'd like a stuffed one (as in plush, not taxidermy), or a javelina keychain, tshirt, or other crap, see:

http://www.resortgifts.com/sonoran/javelina.html

Finally, something I'm qualified to speak on. They may be found alone, but are indeed usually found in little groups. In my case, they usually surround the house (Pima County). They split into little ravenous groups of seven and look for food. Since there aren't many vegetable gardens around, they usually help each other to push your trash cans over and look through them. They are quite mean animals, and its best to leave if you come across a pack in the dark. They'll stand at the gate and look at my dog and snort at it and the dog barks back. Pretty funny.

The worst part is the smell. You can tell when peccaries are about, because you'll smell them before you hear them (The sound is awful too, piggy-screeches and tusks rubbing against whatever tastes good.)

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