HUNGRY JAVELINAS: How to Keep These Critters Out of Your Yard

If you’ve lived in Arizona for any amount of time, you’re probably familiar with the damage javelinas can do to your yard. One day your garden is thriving with color and greenery, the next day it looks like some animal came in and destroyed your favorite plants. More than likely it was a ravenous javelina getting its fill.

These herbivores, known as collared peccaries, do most of their foraging at night and early mornings, feasting on bulbs, grass, seeds, roots, fruit and cacti (they especially love prickly pear and any flowering cacti).

“Javelina have poor eyesight, but they have a keen sense of smell,” says Jeff Schalau, county agent for University of Arizona Yavapai County Cooperative Extension. “Their diet changes with food availability in the environment, but they may also nibble on or dig up plants they do not actually eat.”

That’s why you might find something like a barrel cactus, which javelinas normally don’t eat, pulled out of its planting hole but still in good shape.

The only certain method to prevent plant injury is through exclusion, such as a fence or other type of barrier. Many homeowners have had good luck with electric fences.

Aside from this, the best options for keeping javelina out of your yard are to plant vegetation they tend to avoid (although there are no guarantees), keep your gates closed, remove any uneaten pet food that might be outdoors, and never feed them. The idea is to keep your yard from being an inviting environment. Once you do, javelina will resume foraging in more natural areas.

Alyssum • Butterfly Bush • Cosmos • Geranium • Globe Amaranth • Ice Plant • Larkspur • Marigold • Salvia • Snapdragon

Golden Fleece • Ivy • Vinca

Basil • Chili Pepper • Egg Plant • Lavender • Rosemary • Sage

Aloe • Barrel Cactus •
Caesalpinia app. • Cholla • Creosote • Desert Spoon • Fire Sticks • Gopher Plant • Juniper • Moroccan Mound • Nandina • Ocotillo • Yucca

Peccaries are similar to domestic pigs, but are a species of their own. They are aggressive by nature, yet will usually leave humans alone unless they feel threatened. Javelina emit a pungent odor, especially if they become alarmed, so you will most likely know if one is in the vicinity first by its smell rather than by sight.

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