Are javelinas having a baby boom in El Paso?

Yucca (left) and Mesquite at the El Paso Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

By Rick LoBello, Board Member

The javelina also called collared peccary is one of the most interesting animals in Texas, the southwest and the US and Mexico. 

Gould’s Turkey

Many people call javelinas pigs, but they are actually not pigs although they are related.   Javelinas are in the family Tayassuidae, pigs are in the family Suidae.   Since exotic wild hogs are expanding their range and threatening to upset the balance of nature, many people confuse the javelina with wild hogs.

Javelinas recently photographed at a west El Paso home.

Here in El Paso I have been noticing more reports of people seeing javelinas like one from Ray Chiarello who recently photographed two javelinas near his home on the west side of El Paso not far from the southwest boundary of Franklin Mountains State Park.   When people saw a photo he posted on the Nextdoor app he got mixed reviews.  Some people thought seeing javelinas in the neighborhood was pretty interesting while others were a little alarmed.   Most people in El Paso are not prepared to live near javelinas so I thought I would share some of what I know about them from my experience living at Panther Junction in Big Bend National Park. Near the employee residential area there were several herds ranging in size from just a few animals to nearly two dozen or more.  The average herd size is 10, but the record is 53!

First of all javelinas are classified as herbivores eating mainly plant material. Don’t tell that to a javelina because many act like omnivores eating plant and animal material.  If given the opportunity javelina will eat dead birds, lizards and rodents.   Whatever you do don’t feed them because they will come back.   Javelinas may also go after some of the vegetation in your yard.  They can be a threat to your dogs if they interact with them.   Because they are near sighted sometimes they will approach people just to get a closer look at what is in front of them, but most times they will run away.   They have sharp teeth and can hurt you if you try to feed them, so don’t feed a wild javelina because if you do and someone gets hurt chances are that the authorities will kill it.

There are good information pages on living with javelinas on websites hosted by Texas Parks and Wildlife and Arizona Game and Fish.

If you would like to report your sightings you can do so using the inaturalist app or by sending me your pictures to me at

Top and middle – Rick LoBello
Bottom and cover – Ray Chiarello

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