Desert dwellers, Javelina and I, have a mixed relationship. I love watching the group of 30-plus individuals of various ages as they tour the neighborhood. They are cute, especially the young ones, although a bit smelly in a musky way. I am not so pleased when they root up all the native cacti around the house to eat the roots or raid the trash buckets and scatter the trash all about the neighborhood. Pigs will be pigs, or so I have heard.
The Javelina, also known as the collared peccary, is not an actual “pig” but a member of the pig-like family. Their hide is covered with short and coarse, grizzly textured hair that is grayish colored with a band of white hair around the neck. They have a mane of darker hair along their back down to the short tail. They look like pigs except for shorter legs and a stockier build. They also have different teeth and digestive systems and lack a pig’s signature snout. All in all, they have the appearance and behavior of actual pigs and have earned their nicknames.
Javelinas are classified as herbivores. They feed on various plants, including agave, prickly pear cacti, roots, tubers, cactus fruits, mesquite beans, other green vegetation, and small animals like lizards or rodents if they have the opportunity. They are native animals in southwest Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Mexico, Central America, South America, and southward into northern Argentina.
Javelinas can be found in desert washes, saguaro forests, palo verde forests, and desert areas with mixed cacti. They live in large family groups that can be as small as ten javelinas or as large as 50 javelinas. They can be very aggressive when directly threatened or to protect the young and newborns in the group. They communicate among themselves and with other groups, using sounds and smells. Javelinas are not currently considered a threatened species.
Learn more about Javelinas at Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
The sculpture’s decoration is fun and playful in black and white but not typical of an actual Javelina. This sculpture representing the desert Javelina is rather magical. There is a secret hatch on the Javelina’s back to hide special notes and tiny treasures. This Javelina will drive around on shiny new red wheels.
The decoration is painted with ceramic pigments and fired to seal under a transparent glaze.
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