Spiny swine? Fuzzy warthogs? No! These hairy Southwesterners are actually peccaries, not piggies. "Friendly, dusty...they remind me of my ex-boyfriend," says one javelina fan. Collared peccaries- better known as javelinas- slowly migrated north from South America. The ancient Mayas once worshipped a goddess known as the Great White Peccary and boasted a king named Precious Peccary.
About 300 years ago, javelinas arrived in what is now the American West, where they dine on cacti and other spiny plants. As nearsighted herd animals, they live in a world of scent and sound. To communicate, they grunt, bark, growl, chuckle, squeal, click their teeth, and squirt musk.
Nimble and easily startled, javelinas can leap six feet and gallop up to 25 miles per hour, leaving behind a cloud of dust and a dose of javelina "perfume." Today the javelina is the sports mascot of Texas A&M University- Kingsville and the star of a popular children's book.
Capture the spirit of the West in the palm of your hand. Each book in the Look West Series presents in words and pictures a unique aspect of the American West.
Desert Babies A-Z