The Desert Family

Our cat Boo rests on the back of the futon in our living room on May 8, 2021. Original: _CAM1594.arw

Last night when it cooled down enough to open the windows I logged off work and moved from the living room to my office. As I was getting my things together I noticed Sam was at the top of the cat tree, wide-eyed, staring out the window. I went over and realized a javelina was eating mesquite seeds out front so I turned off the lights and Sam and I settled in to watch it.

A few more of various ages came wandering in so I went to get Boo and Trixie and we all settled in to watch the desert family though one of us couldn’t see so well in the dark. Eventually two adults sauntered in with five adorable babies in tow. Trixie was in front of me next to the screen so she had a front row seat when an adult brought two of the babies right below the window. She stayed quiet but from her body language I was a little worried she might explode.

The javelina spent a lot of time in the yard, from beginning to end 20 or 30 minutes, so fun to see and hear, at least for all of us but Boo. He got scared and ran off when one of the adults sprinted across the yard, so he wasn’t there when the babies arrived. I could tell he was nearby though as when the little things started making a ruckus the darkness growled behind me. He was already a little stressed as he hates the ceiling fan in my office, I held out turning it on for as long as I could but it’s gotten too warm to not run it, so sadly for now I’ve lost my tuxedo sidekick. Here’s hoping he gets used to it as I loved having him tucked in beside me all winter.

Boo’s New Friends

A javelina eats in our front yard on December 27, 2020. Original: _RAC2559.arw

My wife and I isolated during the holidays but we did end up hosting a hungry family a couple of days after Christmas. I heard some grunting when I stepped outside and looked up to see a family of javelina scattered about the yard. I went back into my office for my camera and telephoto lens (they are tolerant, not tame) and saw Boo was in my office. I put him onto the window seat as some of the family walked right below it and he was mesmerized, I think it was his first time seeing them. I felt sorry for the one that must have wandered too close to a teddy bear cholla although the prickers didn’t seem to bother it.

A family of javelina eats in our front yard on December 27, 2020. Original: _RAC2592.arw

Collared

A javelina (collared peccary) walks through the desert near the Latigo Trail in McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona in May 2019

I find the bright green plant in the corner distracting but since I rarely see javelina I’ve decided to go ahead and post this. I met this one and one other after photographing some Harris’s hawks beside the Latigo Trail early on a spring morning. I wasn’t sure how easily startled they might be so I didn’t risk setting up the tripod (it can make some dogs or horses nervous) and I didn’t even take the couple of steps down the trail that would have removed the plant from view. All I saw after this was its backside as it followed its partner and slowly sauntered out of view.

Javelina are also known as the collared peccary, you can see the white collar around the neck for which they are named. Like the other peccaries, they evolved in the Americas and are not directly related to pigs.