A Note To Parents: We make every effort for Roxanne's blog to be a SAFE site for children. Whenever possible, activities are in pdf format or link to safe sites for children. Please feel free to use the information in these posts for homeschool studies! All rights reserved by author and nature photographer, Virginia Parker Staat.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Is It a Pig Or Not?

When I was very young, Mom, Dad, and I were hiking along a creek in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico. As we hiked, we saw shallow trenches dug by animals. There were many digs in this forest grove. Mom and Dad were curious. What would cause these indentations in the ground?

Suddenly, Mom whispered loudly to Dad. She remembered these signs from her childhood. "We've got to get out of here! These are javelina digs!"

Dad yanked my lead, and the three of us headed back towards the meadow... fast! As soon as we crossed out of the woods, we heard the snorts and chomps from a mama javelina. We backed away from the sound and headed back down the trail. We didn't stop until we reached the creek.

Javelinas are normally not aggressive to humans. But they do not like dogs. Their razor sharp tusks can rip a dog to shreds. Mom and Dad knew that we had to leave immediately! I learned a lot that day. To be in nature, you must respect the creatures that live there.

Javelinas certainly look like pigs but they are not. Their real name is Collared Peccary. The Spanish named them javelinas because of their sharp, tusk-like canine teeth.

Built low and close to the ground, javelinas weigh about 40 to 60 pounds. They have four toes on their front hooves and three on the back. They have an excellent sense of smell but poor eyesight. Their pink, pig-like noses help them to locate roots and catch a whiff of predators.

Javelinas are mostly vegetarian. Their favorite food is prickly pear cactus. They eat the cactus, spine and all! Javelinas are wild and wacky!

Check out these sites for more information about javelinas:

For a great read about javelinas, check out this book from your library: Don't Call Me Pig! A Javelina Story by Conrad J. Storad.

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