I haven't written about a Chance Encounter in a while, probably because I haven't encountered anyone too interesting. The other night we looked out our front door and found a whole herd of interesting (sorry for the bad pictures - they were taken through a window).
Just in case you can't figure out what you're looking at, here's a better stock picture:
These are javalina (have-a-leen-a). There were eight of them on our porch, including at least two little ones. They were having a great feast on our leftover pumpkins. At one point a car made a loud noise about a block away and they scattered in a flash of little hooves clattering on the brick walk.
This one came back and he was very sassy. Right here he's standing less than three feet from me with only a window between us. He was chomping away at that pumpkin. At one point he raised his head and looked right at me wiggling his snoot. We were really connecting.
So now that you've seen these guys, guess what kind of animal they are. Razorbacks? Boars? Pigs? Well, not exactly. A javelina is a Collared Peccary which migrated over time from South America as far north as Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. They weigh about 35-50 pounds and travel in herds (like the herd on our porch). They have very poor eyesight, but a great sense of smell and pretty good hearing. If you startle them, they will run off but leave a musk smell like a skunk. That's why they're also called Skunk Pigs. However, "pigs" as known in the U.S. are derived from European pigs, while javalina are native to the Americas, so they are not related to domesticated pigs or feral pigs (razorbacks).
Their natural food is cactus, but hey, this guy lives in Scottsdale. He loves ornamental flowers. He has an accurate calendar and knows trash day. If you put out your trash can the night before pickup, you will find the street littered with trash from all the trash cans down the street. That's good eatin'. These guys even tried eating the votive candles and metal pumpkin pails in front of my house. This guy spared my pumpkins before Halloween, so I could hardly begrudge him a little snack and chat with me.
I guess we had a chance encounter over a good meal.