This morning, as I am concluding my daily jog, I come up over a little hill – pushing myself to finish strong as I run faster on that last stretch of desert earth. My shoes are crunching away, I’m breathing heavily, the humidity is kicking my butt, and I “think” I hear something. But I can’t tell due to all the noise I’m making. So I dismiss the strange “bark” that also has a “snorty” tone to it. I figure it’s my body objecting to all the exercise. Or my imagination.
Then I stop abruptly. Only five feet in front of me are two adult javelinas and their two babies. Knowing that they can become very defensive when they feel their young are threatened (and knowing that they have razor-sharp teeth), I back up and try to find a place to “hide.” Kind of hard to do in the desert, though … And I doubt I could outrun a javelina.
But I do realize I have startled them, and that I have basically “charged” at them by shooting up over the hill, in their direction, with no warning. So I’m expecting the worst… A charge back at me, perhaps.
Fortunately for me, though, mama and babies high-tail it in the opposite direction, their little porcine legs moving swiftly (javelinas actually aren’t pigs, by the way. They’re peccaries!). I still have to contend with the crazy one hiding under the palo verde tree, who suddenly flies from beneath it, bucking and hopping like a ticked off bronco. Again, fortunately for me, he exits stage left, and I am free to go home.
I can’t resist, though, climbing up on the tractor parked in front of the pecan grove (yes – we have a tractor in the desert) and watching the family scurry away. I’ve always loved javelinas!
Lesson learned? I realize that I take this chance with close-up wildlife encounters every morning … and I’ll probably keep doing it. What a great experience! What a great way to experience life. (And somehow, a great spark for my creativity and writing!)
Enjoy the video below that captures baby javelinas in our pecan grove.
*Originally published at What I Saw. Reposted with permission of the author.
How very lucky – that you saw them and that they took off in the opposite direction! Hadn’t heard about Javelinas before – they look and sound very like pigs.
Yes, javelinas are quite prevalent in the Arizona desert. When I took that video, we had recently moved and were SO excited to see them for the first time. Now they are frequent visitors, though I have to admit: I’ve seen very few this year. I’m not sure how the drought affects them, but it’s been bad in Arizona. The babies are downright adorable.
Oh, my gosh! That’s kind of the coolest!