How to Keep Javelinas Out of Your Yard


Javelinas pose problems to home owners from the desert southwest of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas all the way down to Argentina in South America.

To prevent property damage from javelinas, yards and gardens should have a fence about the perimeter. Also, homeowners need to take away any allurements that entices the animal to enter the yard.

Make sure to secure trash and other food sources out of the reach of the peccary, as well as sealing up possible hiding places or shelters.

Javelina by cacti

What is a Javelina?

Javelina’s are pig-like creatures that live in the southwestern United States all the way down to Argenitna.

Also know as collard peccary, or my husband’s favorite term of endearment for them, ‘skunk pig’, they are a member of the Tayassuidae family which is made up of New World (North and South America native) pig-like animals.

Although they resemble Old World pigs (which we associate with bacon, pork chops, and pulled pork), they are not the same.

Feral hogs and razorbacks are descended from Old World pigs brought by the Spaniards when they first came to the Americas.

Javelinas have been here much longer, 3 million years give or take a ice age or two to be precise.

Adapted to the dry climate, they thrive in their small herds or ‘squadrons’ of up to 20 individuals in the desert brush.

They can be found knocking over trash cans in the cities, or pilfering gardens in the countryside.

Although they may seem cute and harmless, javelinas are a force to be reckoned with.

How to Deal with Javelinas

Living in a rural town in Arizona, we have had our issues with javelinas tearing up our yard and garden.

In fact, several times I am awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of my dogs barking at a roaming squadron of javelina traveling near my house.

When asked how to deal with javelina, I have three remedies:

  • Don’t give them a reason to come to your yard.
  • Fences, fences, and more fences.
  • Using loud sounds to scare them away.

How Not to Deal with Javelinas

If you think that Javelina’s are just desert versions of pigs you find on a farm, you are wrong.

Javelina’s can become very aggressive, especially if there are young in the squadron.

When dealing with Javelina, remember the following:

  • Do NOT have your dog attack them. Javelina have very sharp teeth and can kill dogs, even large ones.
  • Do NOT kill a javelina unless you have the appropriate hunting license and tags. Research your local area’s ordinances to see what restrictions are in place for hunting javelina.
  • Do NOT try to pet a javelina. These animals are not like Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web, they can and probably will attack you.
  • Do NOT feed javelina. The more you feed javelina, the more they will return. This will cause more problems for you and your neighbors, especially if their predators, mountain lions and coyotes decide to follow them.

Discouraging Javelinas in Your Yard

Like most animals, javelina’s spend most of their awakened time looking for food.

According to Arizona Game and Fish, javelina’s are omnivores, but their favorite foods include nuts, succulents, fruit, cacti, bulbs and other tubers.

However, they will eat other foods such as bird seed, pet food, and foods left in trash cans.

Javelina’s have poor eye site, so they rely on their sense of smell to find food.

Using Smells to Keep Javelinas Away

Spraying an ammonia, or bleach solution on trash cans or other surfaces that smell like food to javelina’s can keep them from venturing over to find a late night snack.

It is also a good idea to feed pets inside, or to remove leftover food when you are done feeding your pets.

If you have a yard that contains some of the javelina’s favorite treats, it is recommended to fence the area in so javelina’s will stay out.

Seal Off Possible Shelters

According to the U.S. Department of the Interior National Park Service, javelina like to find shelter in caves, shade of large trees, and rocky over hangs to get out of the heat and away from predators.

Now, you may think that you are safe since you live in a nice air conditioned house that has no semblance to a cave of any kind.

However, that may not be the case.

Part of my house is elevated slightly off of the ground, with a crawl space under the house.

One day, I was awakened to a horrible acidic smell that reminded me of a skunk’s stentch.

After mentioning this to my husband, he went outside and soon I heard a great deal of banging under my floor.

I looked out of the window as I saw several salt javelina dart from under my house towards the hills.

What had happened is that they had found the opening to our crawl space and decided that it made a lovely cave to sleep in.

I have also found them in sheds, under patios, and in small groves of trees nearby houses.

Make sure that these areas are blocked off so that the javelina’s won’t be tempted to move in.

Keep Javelina from Water Sources

Javelinas are also attracted to water sources, such as hoses, water dishes, and swimming pools.

They have been known to chew through hoses and sprinkling systems to obtain water.

Make sure all possible water sources are out of reach or fenced off so that the javelina can’t get to them.

Mother Javelina and two babies

Fencing to Keep Javelina Out

My mother-in-law likes to plant a huge garden every year full of tomato plants, squash, melons, corn, and other veggie goodness.

Unfortunately, there have been years that all of her hard work is destroyed in less than a night when a squadron of javelina’s decide to help themselves to an all you can eat buffet.

To keep this from happening, she has had to invest in some electric fencing to keep the skunk pigs out.

Fortunately for the home gardener or anyone who wants a peccary-free yard, keeping javelina’s out of your garden is as easy as putting up a fence.

Since they are built relatively low to the ground, a block, electric, or wire fence is usually sufficient to keep them away from your garden goodies.

In fact, if you have a trash can that is susceptible to being overturned by these night time dumpster divers, creating a small walled-in area to keep your trash cans in until trash pick-up day is recommended.

Scaring Javelina From Your Yard

Javelina are naturally afraid of humans.

The only time they will actually attack someone is if they feel cornered or if their young seems to be threatened.

Usually, if a javelina hears a human coming, and they have a way to escape, they will run away.

At night, we keep our dogs penned up in a dog kennel.

However, when they start barking in the middle of the night, we know that some javelina have decided to pay our yard a visit.

To scare them away, we simply open the door and yell out, which usually does the job of scaring them away.

If we are lazy, we keep our car keys next to the bed and hit the panic button on our key fobs.

That usually sends the javelina scurrying.

Pets and Javelinas

Javelina showing tusks

If you are unable to fence your yard to keep javelina’s out, make sure that you secure your pets in at night.

One of the javelina’s natural predators are coyotes, and javelina have certain characteristics to help defend themselves against coyote attacks.

These Collard Peccary have razor sharp tusks, which get sharpened every time they open and close their mouths.

They have been known to attack dogs, just as they would a coyote, and the end result is usually death, or severe injuries caused by deep gashes.

Javelina’s can also attract cougars and coyotes into the yard, putting your pets in danger of becoming a snack for these larger animals.

Warning: If you find baby javelina, leave them alone, their mother may have been scared away and will return to them.

If you suspect that the mother is deceased, call animal control to handle the situation,

Is it Illegal to Kill a Javelina in Arizona, New Mexico, or Texas?

Javelina are considered a game animal in the states where they are found.

This means that you can legally kill them, but only if it is the proper hunting season and that you have the proper hunting license and tags.

How to Get a Javelina Hunting License

To get a hunting license in any of these states, an individual must purchase a license through the state’s game and fish department in the state they wish to hunt in.

However, a hunting education course may be required for younger individuals wishing to hunt.

Hunting Javelinas in Arizona

Javelina can be hunted in both the Spring and Fall seasons in Arizona.

However, you can only take two animals a year.

The spring hunting season for javelinas is usually in the range of January to March, while the Fall hunting season is between the end of August and November.

Hunting Javelinas in New Mexico

According to New Mexico Game and Fish, javelina hunting season statewide runs between January to the end of March.

Unlike Arizona, New Mexico has a bag limit of only one animal.

Hunting Javelinas in Texas

In the great state of Texas, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife, you do not necessarily have to have a tag to hunt javelinas, but you do need a valid hunting license.

99 of the 254 counties in Texas have Javelina seasons, and most have a bag limit of 2 per year.

Hunting Feral Pigs

In the states of New Mexico and Texas, feral pigs are not a protected species and hunters are encouraged to hunt them year round without any bag limits.

However, hunters are advised not to confuse wild pigs with javelinas.

Can I kill a Javelina if it is Destroying My Property?

Unfortunately, it is still illegal to kill a javelina without the proper license or tags, even if it is destroying your property.

The Departments of Game and Fish and Parks and Wildlife make it clear that it is the homeowners responsibility to deter and repel javelina without the use of lethal force.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Coyote Urine Repel Javelinas?

The theory behind products that are made of predator urine is that the smell of a predatory animal will deter prey species from entering into certain spaces.

Although a coyote is considered one of the predators of javelina, I have seen javelina viciously attack coyotes if they sense a coyote in their surroundings.

The smell of a predator may deter javelinas to a certain degree, however, the smell of food might be too strong to resist.

After reading reviews on different urine products and watching different individuals use such products, I am not convinced that they work as well as advertised.

How to Make Homemade Javelina Repellant

The trick to repelling javelina is to make your area completely unappetizing.

Unlike urine repellant, using strong and distasteful smells to make an area less appetizing has shown to work to discourage javelina from coming into gardens and yards.

Washing surfaces with a diluted ammonia and bleach solution gives off a smell that is unattractive to javelinas.

Also, smells such as chili peppers and other hot vegetables are also unappetizing to the animals.

Spread chili pepper flakes near places that javelinas may use as entrances to deter them from entering.

Can Mothballs Deter Javelinas?

Mothballs are not recommended in deterring javelinas.

Although the smell may be strong, it isn’t enough to discourage javelinas from entering the yard, plus chemicals from the mothballs can leech into the soil.

What Plants Won’t Javelina Eat?

The University of Arizona’s College of Agriculture and Life Science came out with a list of plants javelina will not eat.

These plants include:

  • Allysum Allysum
  • Basil
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Carnations
  • Chili Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Dahlias
  • Eggplant
  • Juniper
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Snapdragons

Will this Work to Repel Wild (Feral) Pigs?

Although they may not be closely related, pigs and javelina are very similar in habits and diet.

The tips and advice given here will also work for issues regarding razor backs and other wild pigs.

How to Tell the Difference Between a Javelina and a Wild Pig

Despite sharing several common features, it is possible to distinguish a javelina from a pig.

One of the easiest way to differenciate between them is by looking at the tail.

Pigs have a distinct tail, while javelina have short, almost indistinguishable tails.

Javelinas have a white collar, while pigs do not.

Also, javelina are usually smaller than full grown pigs, reaching weights of only 40-60 lbs., while pigs can grow to be 120-220 lbs.

In the End, Prevention is the Key

The key to preventing javelina from destroying the yard is to take precautionary measures to ensure that they stay away out of your property.

As in many other things in life, prevention is the key to destruction.

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