Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Arizona’s Javelina

Visiting good friends in Tucson, Arizona,gave my brain some stimulation as I was introduced to the Arizona javelina (have-a-leen-a) or peccary. Oh my! I thought they were members of the pig family. While they are part of the same order of mammals as pigs (along with deer, antelope, and the hippopotamus), they are in different families (Tayassuidae for peccaries vs Suidae for pigs and hogs). Javilenas eat prickly pear cactus and somehow the cacti and other spiny plants hurt neither mouth or digestive system. Go figure! Speaking of sensory systems, javelinas, are very nearsighted, which means they live primarily in a world of scents and sounds. They grunt, growl, bark, squeal, chuckle, and click their teeth when communicating with each other. And speaking of kinesthesia, they tend to squirt musk when they are startled. Bobcats, mountain lions, and black bears are among their predators. More tomorrow.

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