These picture were taken last February. There had been a snow event. FOUR inches: a VERY big deal! Of course by the time the sun came up, it had melted enough to go to work. No snow days here! By the next day or so, what snow hadn’t sublimated (the usual result in the desert) ran off the roof into this pool under a mesquite tree on the south side of the house. This mesquite tree is very happy to live over the pool, and it provides a little shade outside my window during the summer, then loses its leaves to allow the sun to shine into my office window during the winter.
The shallow, rock-lined area under the tree captures the runoff from the roof. It doesn’t quite qualify as a “rain garden”, but it does hold some moisture year-round.
On this day, the pool had plenty of water, and some of my neighbors stopped by for an impromptu pool party.
Yeesh! It was 45° out there!
Locally, we call these “javelinas” (have-a-LEE-na). Back East, I saw them at the zoo, marked “Collared Peccaries”. See their collars? Wikipedia says that they are the New World version of pigs (Pecari tajacu). Back East, the wild pigs are actually descendants of domestic pigs brought over from Europe. Peccaries are our true native species. I see 14 in this picture; how about you?
Here’s another group photo:
This is my local group. They usually cross the yard just after dark, going south, and then come by around 3 am, going north. Sometimes they come around during the day in smaller groups, just checking if I’ve left any food out somewhere. As if, heh! I guess they’re optimists.
I found out they were there when I heard the quiet, happy grunting. Just very quiet, like everybody was enjoying themselves. (Again: 45°!) Other times, I hear them conversing in more angry tones, and occasionally a squeal in protest, but that day everybody was just relaxing together. At the moment, and since the drip irrigation has been discontinued, we’re all getting along. When we accidentally meet in the yard, they give a little bark at me, and I say hello, and we look at each other for a moment to see if anything weird might happen, and then we each go on our way and nobody gets hurt. I may change the way I feel about them once I start having plants I care about (such as vegetables) growing in the yard, and I’m planning fencing for that situation (which I hope will be strong enough), but at the moment, we’re all friends.
The State of Arizona is somewhat ambivalent about them. Javelinas are designated as “big game” (?!), and their website is all about how to get rid of them on your property. On the contrary, I always think that I’m the one living here provisionally: it’s really their space, and I’m happy they let me share it with them — again, anything outside the house is theirs.
The javelinas have that oval, prehensile nose like a pig, and the same kind of feet. Wikipedia says they 3-4 feet long and weigh 44-88 pounds. But it doesn’t mention that they’re only 5 or 6 inches wide. I’m more familiar with the domestic pigs, which are more cylindrical than javelinas, so the javelinas almost seem 2-dimensional when seen directly head-on. LOL.
Wikipedia also says they’re smelly. Totally Not True! My javelinas are not at all stinky! OK, maybe my nose doesn’t work all that well, but I’ve never been able to detect any particular smell when the javelinas come by.
The look on that guy’s face is pure bliss!