A javelina near a cactus, a pink manzanita, javelina near a house, and pink vinca.

How To Effectively Deter Javelina

Javelina may be cute, but their impacts on your landscape sure aren't! As an Arizona resident, you have likely already experienced issues with javelinas tearing up your yard or garden at least once or twice. This blog covers the best practices for keeping these hog-like critters at bay!

What Is a Javelina? 

Javelina may look similar to your traditional pig, but they belong to an entirely different family of mammals. The javelina is native to the western hemisphere and is commonly referred to as a  “collared peccary." Javelinas are omnivorous, but they eat mostly prickly pear cactus, which provides up to half their daily diet and meets most of their water requirements. They supplement this diet with vines, grasses, mesquite beans, sotol, and other succulent plants. You'll want to keep these out of your garden if you're having problems with javelinas invading!

What Won't Javelinas Eat? 

It can be challenging to find javelina-proof plants to include in your garden because, like many other desert animals, they will munch on the vegetation they typically don't like during drought to get enough water. They generally prefer annuals to perennials and container-grown plants to those in the ground, but if the javelina is in survival mode, anything will suit them just fine.

Javelina Resistant or Repellent Plants 

There are a wide variety of plants that grow well in the desert that either deter, or are resistant to, javelina. Choose from flowers, fruits, grasses, herbs, shrubs and trees, succulents and more!

  • Flowers: Allysum, cosmos, geraniums, globe amaranth, larkspur, marigolds, pansies and violas, roses, snapdragons and vinca. 
  • Fruits: Cucumbers, Chili peppers and eggplants
  • Grasses: Pampas Grass
  • Herbs: Basil, lavender, mint, rosemary, and sage
  • Shrubs & Trees: Butterfly bush, deerbrush, hibiscus, manzanita, oak, and skunkbush 
  • Succulents: Hen & Chicks, Ice Plant, Portulaca, and Red-Hot Poker

With so many options to choose from, you can plant away and see what’s most effective in your desert garden and landscape!

Javelina Proofing Your Outdoor Area 

If the herbs aren't doing the trick, or if you need to protect plants from further damage, changing your hardscape is a great way to protect your plants. 

Walls & Fences

According to Arizona Game & Fish, a solid, 4 foot tall wall or regularly maintained chain link fence can effectively keep Javelina out of your yard. 

Some Arizona residents use a low-voltage electric fence with a couple of strands – the bottom strand placed at 8-10 inches (which is the right height for Javelinas' noses) and an additional strand 8-10 inches above that (to ensure they won't jump over the top of it). Note: Some local authorities restrict the use of electric fences. In addition, consideration should be given to other desert wildlife and pets before installing an electric fence. 

Keep a Clean Yard

Javelinas are attracted to dropped fruit, so pick up after your fruit trees! Consistent food will encourage these animals to return to your property, so you will want to ensure that they can't find any; this includes dog or cat food too! Remember, javelinas are desert animals, meaning they are guaranteed to be hungry, thirsty, and desperate for a snack at any given time. 

Loud Noises 

Ideally, you want to make javelinas afraid of your home so they don't come back! As many Arizona residents know, javelinas can be dangerous to encounter due to their poor eyesight and tendency to bite humans who feed them. Try making loud noises with pots and pans or stomping your feet in your backyard to scare them away. 

Use Hanging Plants 

When you live in a neighborhood where javelinas are present and want pretty pots filled with flowers, you need to put them in an enclosed space or courtyard that they cannot reach. Protect plants with a wire cage or move them out of reach to prevent rabbit, rodent, or javelina damage. Use hanging plant baskets to surround yourself with greenery and flowers if you want to protect your yard from javelinas, even if they manage to break past your closed gates. 

Other Methods

If you're combating rabbits and javelina in your garden: mix blood and bone meal into the soil, as they make fantastic natural soil amendments, and they'll scare the pests away. Your rabbit problem should resolve quickly.

Remember don’t feed Javelinas. This will only encourage them to stick around!

For more information on keeping these wild hogs at bay from your outdoor space, as well as what to do if you or your pet encounters one, check out the "Living with Javelina" article on the Arizona Game & Fish website. 

For plants and amendments that deter Javelina, visit us at your local SummerWinds Nursery Arizona locations today! 

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