Like a horde of Visigoths, javelina have been raising heck in an Ahwatukee Foothills neighborhood, knocking over trash cans and spreading trash around as they look for something good to eat.
At first the neighbors thought it was kids pulling some weird holiday prank.
“I thought somebody was out there, kids or something,” said Matt Garvy.
But when the Desert Vista High School teacher and coach opened his front door one night to see who was making noise around his trash can it turned out to be a herd of 10 or 11 javelina, including one big one right in front of his front door.
Across the street Dave Dennis stormed out around 3:30 a.m. one morning when he heard a commotion and was confronted by the javelina.
“Four of them were the biggest I’ve ever seen,” said Dennis, who remembers standing in his yard with a bathrobe and not much else.
It appears that the javelina have been coming down out of South Mountain Park through washes to check out the trash in the 4200 block of East Ahwatukee Drive.
Dennis has lived in Ahwatukee Foothills since 1978, but this is the first time he’s actually seen them in his neighborhood.
But they are a common sight in many local neighborhoods. Traveling in groups, often at night, javelina will eat small rodents, but tend to prefer roots and plants, especially fresh landscaping.
They also appreciate leftover pizza, and other scrumptious scraps often found in trash cans.
Dennis got tired of picking up trash and cobbled together a restraining strap to keep his trash can upright, but so far doesn’t know if it will work or not.
When it comes to dealing with the pesky critters, the Arizona Game and Fish Department suggests:
• Don’t feed javelina.
• Feed pets inside or only what they can eat in one sitting. Don’t allow birdseed to fall to the ground and/or fence any bird-feeding areas. Store birdseed, livestock feed, rodent bait and pet food inside. Do not leave quail blocks where javelina can access them. Pick up fallen fruit and nuts as quickly as possible.
• Keep water sources above the reach of javelina or behind strong fencing.
• Contain garbage and compost. Secure garbage cans by attaching to a fence or wall. Put garbage cans at the curb on the morning of pickup rather than the night before. Clean out cans with a bleach solution to reduce attractive odors.
• Keep dogs on a leash and/or inside a fenced yard to prevent defensive attacks.