Photo of javelina herd

This photograph of a javelina mother, baby, and herd was taken at the Tucson Wildlife Center.

Desert Duets: Javelina Info Web Page

Pronunciation Guide: Hah - vuh - lee - na (It rhymes with ballerina.)

Information about Javelinas

Phew! What is that smell? If you're walking in the desert, you may catch the musky scent of a javelina before you actually see the animal. Javelinas have a glands under their eyes and at the top of their back ends. Their scent is strongest when they are excited. No doubt coming across you in its territory will make a javelina smell especially stinky.

"Javelina" is a Spanish word used in Arizona and the Southwest for the "collared peccary." Javelinas get their name from their sharp tusks. In Spanish, javelina means "spear." Collared peccaries live in the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts in Arizona, New Mexico, southwestern Texas, and farther south through Mexico, Central America, and all the way to northern Argentina in South America.

For fun, you can draw a map of the javelina's range.

Javelinas have thick, dark gray, wire-like hair and a white collar of hair around their necks. The hair of young javelinas is reddish to yellow-brown. They look chunky in a side view; from the front, they look very thin.

Collared peccaries live in small family groups and move around their territory searching for roots, grass, berries, and their favorite food in the Sonoran desert, prickly pear cactus fruits. They are mostly herbivores, but occasionally eat insects, reptiles, and worms. When they live close to humans, javelinas eat from gardens and garbage cans as well.

Brenna's javelina herd paintling

Brenna's painting shows a javelina herd searching for food.

Javelina Pages: Home | Information | Babies | Activity | Resources

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Launched: February 2008
Updated: 13 July 2008