How to keep javelinas out of your garden

Did you know that javelinas, also known as collared peccaries, cause up to $500 million in damages to gardens each year in the southwestern U.S.? As someone living in Arizona, you might be familiar with the frustration they bring. They can ruin your yard or garden. This article shares ways to keep javelinas away, without hurting them.

Javelinas are from the Western Hemisphere and pose a big challenge for gardeners, especially in places like Arizona. They might look like hogs, but they are not. By learning about their habits, food, and what they like, you can find ways to protect your garden. This way, you keep your outdoor space safe from harm.

Javelina Appearance and Characteristics

Javelinas are not very big, about 16 to 20 inches tall and 35 to 60 pounds. They look like wild pigs or round hogs with short legs and grizzled coats. These coats can be black or grayish-brown, with a striking white or cream collar around their neck.

Javelina Habitat and Distribution

These animals thrive in the southwestern U.S. deserts, such as in Arizona. They live in scrublands, chaparrals, and even mountains, needing food and water. Javelinas can be found from the U.S. through Mexico and into South America.

Javelina Diet and Food Preferences

Javelinas enjoy eating prickly pear cactus and mesquite beans. They also like succulent plants. But, when these foods aren’t available, they eat other plants too.

Plants Javelinas Typically Eat

Javelinas are right at home in desert gardening spaces and Arizona landscaping. They like to eat:

  • Prickly pear cactus
  • Mesquite beans
  • Vines
  • Grasses
  • Sotol
  • Other succulent plants

Plants Javelinas Tend to Avoid

There are some plants that javelinas try to stay away from.

  • Marigolds
  • Cosmos
  • Roses
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
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By knowing what javelinas like and don’t like, people can choose plants wisely. This helps keep the hog-like animals out of gardens and yards.

Javelina-Resistant Plants for Your Garden

To keep javelinas away from your Arizona gardening area, use a range of javelina-resistant plants. They make your garden less attractive to these wild pigs. This way, your plants will be secure from their visits.

Flowers That Deter Javelinas

Alyssum, cosmos, geraniums, and marigolds are good at keeping javelinas off. They bring beauty to your garden while warding off these pests. This protects your garden with style.

Fruits and Vegetables Javelinas Dislike

Javelinas usually stay away from cucumbers, chili peppers, and eggplants. Grow these javelina-resistant plants in your veggie patch to shield your crops. This keeps your harvest safe from unwanted munching.

Herbs and Grasses That Repel Javelinas

Plants like basil, lavender, mint, and rosemary are excellent for keeping javelinas away. Pampas grass, an ornamental plant, also helps. They give a nice smell and look to your garden while keeping pests at bay.

Shrubs and Trees Javelinas Avoid

Consider planting shrubs and trees that javelinas avoid, like butterfly bush and oak. They add beauty and structure to your garden. Plus, they keep javelinas out for good.

With smart planting, your garden can become a desert-friendly gardening haven. It will be less attractive to javelinas. You can then relax and enjoy your outdoor space more, knowing your hard work is protected.

Fencing Strategies to Keep Javelinas Out

javelina fencing

If plants that javelinas don’t like aren’t doing the trick, think about adding a fence. The Arizona Game & Fish Department recommends a 4-foot wall or chain-link fence. This can stop javelinas from getting to your yard.

Solid Wall or Chain-Link Fence

Building a 4-foot wall or putting up a strong chain-link fence is a solid plan. These barriers make it clear to javelinas they’re not welcome. Your garden will stay safe from their chewing and rooting.

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Electric Fence for Javelina Deterrence

In places where javelinas are common, some people use electric fences. These fences have wires set at specific heights. They zap the javelinas’ noses if they get too close. Make sure to check if using an electric fence is okay where you live.

Yard Maintenance to Discourage Javelinas

Keeping your yard clean and free of food is key. Clean up fallen fruit and remove pet food outdoors. A tidy yard is less attractive to javelinas. They avoid well-kept areas.

Using Loud Noises to Scare Away Javelinas

Loud noises can scare off javelinas. Try banging pots and pans or stomping your feet. This startles them and makes your yard seem unsafe. Use this with other strategies for best results.

Removing Potential Food Sources

Removal of food sources is important in discouraging javelinas too. Clean up fallen fruit and any pet food outside. A cleaner yard is less inviting to these animals.

Hanging Plants and Other Creative Solutions

Living near javelinas doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy gardening. Try using hanging baskets for plants or keeping them in a safe courtyard. It keeps your plants safe while you enjoy your yard’s beauty. Using wire cages can also protect your plants from the javelinas.

For keeping javelinas out of your garden, you can use barriers and pick strategic plants. Also, try natural repellents and change the soil to ward them off.

Natural Repellents and Soil Amendments

Mix blood and bone meal in your soil for a good javelina repellent. They dislike the strong smell and taste. So, they will stay away from your desert landscaping. This method is an important part of wildlife management for your natural gardening space.

Importance of Not Feeding Javelinas

Never feed javelinas. This can make them want to visit more and cause problems. Keeping your space unwelcoming for them is vital.

Living with Javelinas in Your Neighborhood

Javelinas might be a bit of a problem in your garden. But, it’s key to understand them and how to live with them safely. Generally, javelinas won’t bother you. However, they might bite if they’re scared. Offer them their space, and don’t try to get close or feed them. Doing so could make things worse. With these steps, you can enjoy your Arizona gardening with these amazing creatures.

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Coexisting with Javelinas Safely

To live peacefully with javelinas in your garden, avoid getting too close or feeding them. Remember, they might get upset if they think you’re coming too close. Keep your distance and avoid any direct contact. Instead, work on making your space less attractive to them. This can help keep them away without harming them.

When to Seek Professional Assistance

If you’re having trouble keeping javelinas out of your garden, it might be time to call in the pros. The Arizona Game and Fish Department and local pest control or wildlife management teams can help. They know the best ways to deal with javelinas.

They might suggest better fences, how to relocate them, or other fixes. Always ask for help if javelinas are causing big problems.

When to Seek Professional Help for Javelina Management
  • Javelinas continue to cause significant damage to your desert landscaping or Arizona gardening despite your efforts.
  • Javelinas pose a safety concern for you, your family, or your pets.
  • You’ve tried everything on your own and need expert help now.
  • Javelinas keep coming back, and you can’t solve the problem by yourself.

Professional javelina management services can give you the right advice and solutions. They’ll help protect your outdoor areas.

Resources for Javelina Management

Looking for tips on managing javelinas in your area? Start by contacting local wildlife experts, like the Arizona Game and Fish Department. They know their stuff and can give advice tailored to your region. You’ll also find lots of info online. There are guides that cover everything from what javelinas are like to keeping them away from your garden. Use these resources to learn how to defend your space from these pig-like critters.

Local Wildlife Authorities

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is your go-to for dealing with javelinas in Arizona. They’re ready to share tips on creating a wildlife-friendly yard that keeps out pesky animals like javelinas. Talk to them for strategies that work in the desert.


Javelinas are a big problem for Southwestern gardeners and homeowners. But, you can keep them away from your desert garden. Use plants that they don’t like and add barriers. Keeping your yard clean helps too. Learn about their habits to live safely with them and protect your garden.

Stay on top of things and get help if you need it. Use available resources to handle javelinas. Being proactive and learning more about them helps. This way, you can turn your backyard into a safe place for wildlife that keeps javelinas out.

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