WATCH: Rare Javelina Sighting Caught on Ring Cam in Arizona Neighborhood

by Caitlin Berard
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(Photo by Mark Newman via Getty Images)

Arizona is home to a wide variety of desert wildlife, including rattlesnakes, Gila monsters, prairie dogs, javelina, horned toads, and, of course, the roadrunner (yes, the mohawk-sporting bird does exist outside of the Looney Tunes universe and, in fact, is hunted by coyotes).

Typically, however, these animals remain in the wild. It’s unusual, for example, for an Arizona resident to step out their front door and be greeted by a bighorn sheep. Truth be told, a group of Arizonians did spot an entire herd of bighorns making their way through the neighborhood once a couple of years ago. But that was only because the sheep were fleeing a wildfire that was devouring their natural habitat.

So when a Phoenix resident’s ring doorbell camera alerted them to a visitor late one Friday night, they were shocked by what they saw. It wasn’t a friend, a delivery man, or even a wandering house cat. Instead, it was a wild pig, also known as a javelina.

Javelina Sightings on the Rise in Phoenix

Arizona is home to roughly 45,000 javelinas. And though they sometimes venture away from their desert habitat, the wild pigs typically stick to the outskirts of the metropolitan area. Recently, however, residents have spotted javelinas all over town, including in the middle of downtown Phoenix.

According to Arizona Game and Fish Department spokesperson Amy Burnett, javelina sightings in residential areas will likely become more common in the coming years. “A lot of javelina that have become urbanized are because people are helping them out,” Burnett explained to ABC15. “Feeding them and attracting them with food.”

Burnett warned that residents who care for the feral cats in the area aren’t just attracting wandering felines. Javelinas find cat food just as delicious as their feline friends. Though javelinas are unlikely to attack unprovoked, they have been known to attack people who feed them.

“They’re a very widespread species,” an expert from the Wildlife World Zoo told 12News. “And unfortunately, as Arizona grows, we are encroaching in their environment and we’re hearing about more and more javelina encounters.”

“There have been some attacks that have happened recently. We attribute that to a couple of different reasons. The number one cause of attacks is the public feeding javelina, which is detrimental to the species.”

“People think they’re doing them a favor by feeding them but you’re not,” they continued. “They’re losing their natural fear of humans, they’re getting more comfortable, they’re seeking out humans looking for food and javelina can be very aggressive and very territorial.”

Should you encounter a javelina, don’t panic. “Turn around if you’re walking in their path,” Burnett said. “But if you’re too close, make yourself big and make a lot of noise to try and scare them off.”

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