The Battle Challenge by Nancy J. Farrier

Javalina with two babies.

Living in rural Southern Arizona comes with some challenges. The extreme heat. The dry weather and dust. And the critters.

We have javalina that roam in our area. Javalina look like wild pigs, but they are a peccary, not related to pigs. They have the tusks and a snout, coarse hair, and a similar shape to the wild boar. You can usually smell them before you see them and they smell like a skunk. If the dominant male feels his herd is threatened, he will give a loud bark, almost like a large dog’s bark.

These animals roam through our area at night or in the very early hours of the morning looking for food and water. They have been digging under our fences and at first I didn’t mind at all. I can live in peace with wild animals. Right?

Chewed Mammillaria Grahamii

All that changed when they started uprooting my echinopsis and eating my mammillaria. (cactus) They knocked a pot off my front porch and chewed the cactus up pretty good. The mammillaria that were in heavier pots, they ate right where they were. Not the whole cactus, just pieces of them. 

How rude of them!

We tried putting bricks or smaller rocks in the areas where they were digging in, but they just nudge them aside with their snouts and go where they please. And where they please is endangering my cactus.

So, my husband found a large rock that they wouldn’t be able to move. He had me help him and we worked it into the hole completely covering the little ditch they’d dug. Then we covered the stone with dirt, a little smug with the idea that we’d foiled the javalina.

The next morning, I went to check. Sure enough, the rock was too large for them to move. But, they tunneled right around it and came through anyway. And ripped one of my mammillaria from its pot and ate the roots. 

Oh, how I want to go to war. It isn’t fair that they have all the desert to live in and plenty of cactus to eat but they come for my plants. Of course, we’re in a drought so the desert plants don’t provide the moisture mine do, but still. 

I’ve had to stop and think about how much I hate war. I prefer to find a way to get along and work out differences. Granted, it’s hard to negotiate with a javalina. In fact, there is no negotiation. They simply do what they want.

The weather is growing warmer and soon they will move on and not be invading our property. They aren’t eating all my cactus, just taking a bite here and there. It is their nature.

Instead of starting a war I don’t want, I will allow the javalina their invasion. I will even keep the outdoor water buckets full so they can get a drink as they pass through. After all, aren’t we caretakers of God’s creation, even when they don’t behave in the way we want them to?

About Nancy J. Farrier

Nancy J Farrier is an award-winning author who lives in Southern Arizona in the Sonoran Desert. She loves the Southwest with its interesting historical past. When Nancy isn't writing, she loves to read, do needlecraft, play with her cats, and spend time with her family. Nancy is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Literary Agency. You can read more about Nancy and her books on her website:
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3 Responses to The Battle Challenge by Nancy J. Farrier

  1. Yikes! What a mess. I will have to share with my husband. In Florida, we have been dealing with birds that use the bathroom on our vehicles daily and a prickly weed that hurts our dogs paws. It sounds pretty mild compared to what you have been dealing with. I love your attitude and the way you have decided to face the battle. Thanks for sharing. But I do pray for your sake that they move on sooner rather than later.

    Liked by 1 person

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