Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Javelina

Common Names: Collared Peccary, Musk Hog, Tayaussa
Genus: Tayassu
Species: tajacu

The javelina is the only wild pig in North America. It looks exactly like a real pig except a little bigger. It is a grizzled blackish-gray color with a yellowish band which runs under the neck. The name collared peccary comes from the ruff of hair around its neck. It has small, round ears and beady eyes. Its body is barrel-shaped with short legs. Its head is pointed, ending in a disc-like nose. Javelinas have 3 toes on each hind foot. The upper tusks (1.5 inches long) are pointed down, instead of up like some other wild pigs. The javelina grows from 46 to 60 inches long, and can weigh up to 60 pounds.

Javelinas live in the canyon area of the desert. They live there because it is bushy and there are water holes everywhere. They need the bushes for the shade and they need lot's of water to live.

The javelina eats cacti, grass, bulbs, berries, flowers, mushrooms, and fruit, which is easy for them to get in their habitat.

The javelina always travel and live in groups. The female gives birth to twins about once a year. Her young travel with the group their whole life until they die. No new members are ever accepted into the group unless they are born into it.

The javelinas have a very good nose. That can have its advantages if there is a predator around. They also look for food in groups so if they're attacked they can fight back in numbers.

The javelina's niche is the water holes and bushes in the canyon area where they live. They get shade under the bushes, so they won't over heat. They can't survive long without water, so it's good to have water close by if you are a javelina.

Javelinas' status in the wild is very good right now. There lots of them around and they're not dying off or going extinct.


According to papers filed in anArizona court, a Dutch tourist who was attacked by a javelina at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum has taken the first step to filing a lawsuit against the Tucson facility and Pima County.

Rene Zegerius has filed a claim for $400,000 over the incident in June, when he was standing along a path inside the museum grounds when a javelina attacked him. The pig-like animal, a member of the peccary family, tore muscle and nerves and severed veins and arteries in his right calf and left hand.

Zegerius spent eight days in a hospital, and says he lost money on hotel and travel reservations. Medical expenses came to $70,000, and a last-minute ticket back to the Netherlands cost more than $15,000. He had to buy a first-class ticket because doctors told him he needed to stay horizontal.
"These were very serious injuries," said Clague Van Slyke, a Tucson attorney representing Zegerius. "It could have been fatal. Fortunately, it wasn't, but he has permanent nerve damage."

Wants only fair compensation
Van Slyke said Zegerius wants only fair compensation for what he has suffered and the money he wouldn't have had to spend if he hadn't been bitten.

Robert Edison, the museum's executive director, said he is certain the javelina that attacked Zegerius did not belong to the museum.

He said officials from the Arizona Game and Fish Department checked every animal for blood or other evidence and found nothing. The javelina that attacked Zegerius was never found.