How to Keep Javelinas Away from Your Yard

Excerpt from Valley 101: The Great Big Book of Life, a collection of Clay Thompson’s columns for The Arizona Republic. (Originally published September 7, 2001.)

Q: We have a herd of javelinas that have decided to come down to a common area in our neighborhood directly behind our house and use it for a latrine. If you’ve never smelled javelina poop, it’s something else. Is there anything that will repel these creatures? I tried mothballs already.

A: Thank you for sharing your thoughts about javelina poop. I really wasn’t hungry for lunch anyway.

Javelina. Photo Credit: iStock

I consulted on this one with Joe Yarchin, an urban wildlife specialist with the state Game and Fish Department. He knows all about stuff like this, although as far as I know he doesn’t know who stole my bedspread off the clothesline the other day. This really honks me off. I bet it was javelinas.

Anyway, Yarchin said your best bet is a fence. You don’t need to put up a great big block fence. Try driving some wrought-iron stakes deep into the ground and maybe reinforcing them with chicken wire.

You need to make sure there isn’t anyone in the neighborhood putting food out for the javelinas because they think they’re cute animals. I don’t know why anyone would think they’re cute, but some people do.

Some repellants based on red pepper might work short-term and you could try scattering around some rags that have been soaked in ammonia. It can’t smell any worse than the javelinas. Yarchin said he doesn’t like using mothballs because it just means that many more chemicals leaching into the soil.

Yarchin also said you should try to discourage them from getting comfortable. You could try spraying them with a hose, but I think they might actually like that. You can also run at them and wave your arms and shout. It’s not like they’re going to eat you or anything.

He also suggested making a shake can by sealing some pennies or small pebbles in a can and then winging it at the javelinas. It won’t really hurt them, but it might scare them off. Let me know if you do
that because it sort of sounds like fun.


  1. Holly says

    I think your friend, Joe Yarchin, should be in another business. Suggesting to throw things at wildlife, put down potentially dangerous and harmful (red pepper, amonia-soaked rags) things that will definitely hurt other wildlife? Way to go, Joe! Javelina will leave when they get bored. Leave them alone. Weren’t they here first anyway? Yes, they have been in my yard and pooped, just pick it up and throw it away, what is the big deal? And yes, I am one of those who think they are cute, but let’s be respectful of our wildlife, not try to injure them because we don’t want to be bothered. Maybe that is why I would never be hired to be in charge of wildlife…I don’t want to hurt them.

    • Sil says

      ^^^You must be one of those stay at home ladies with nothing else better to than pick up poop. Try getting a real job then come home to clean up after them. By the way, red pepper is harmless to animals, it just repels them. That is what I use to repel them. Works like a charm!

      • Susan says

        I’m curious about the red pepper. Where do you put it? In the garden or in the yard before they get to the garden? Also, crushed red pepper or what king? The javelinas are eating my ruellia. Thanks!

    • Cog Gizmo says

      They are cute. I agree. Unfortunately they my watermelon the other night and my Swiss chard this morning. Ahem. I’m thinking SPEAR at this point. Any better suggestions, because I love life.

    • Debbie says

      I agree with you Holly. Unless the javelina are destructive or you are in danger of being attacked (usually only when there are babies) why would you care if they are in your yard. I think they are adorable and have many pictures of them on my FB page. My house is not fenced in so wildlife can enjoy my space as well. As are as picking up poop Sil, I just leave it and the rains will wash it away. They were here way before any of us were.

    • Brianna says

      Go you! So right! The only thing you can do is put up a fence. You can’t really take nature out of nature. After-all, we are all a part of it and it was here long before us! Also, don’t run at them. A javelina mom with babies will not always back down.

    • Betty says

      No, the Javelina was not here first. We pioneers. were here first. My grandparents came here in the 1800s and my parents were both born in the territory. Javelinas are not natives of northern nor central Arizona. They were brought in by some misguided Federal program. There are plenty of Javelinas in Mexico. If you approve of them, there is where you will find your haven.

  2. ThatDarnCat says

    Shooting works best. Javalina are rodents and carry disease. They are destructive and dangerous to livestock, pets, and people. If you put out anything to attract them you are an idiot and your neighbors should be allowed to tar and feather you.

    • Summer says

      Javelina are not rodents. I mean, seriously? Have you looked at a javelina? Have you looked at a rodent? Where is any similarity? They are closest related to the pig. Please share what diseases they carry. Shooting javelina is illegal (especially within city limits) unless you have a permit and they are in season. They are animals, just like me and you. They are only doing what comes naturally to them. Of course people shouldn’t feed them, that’s just dumb. They can be dangerous, which is why they deserve a little respect.

  3. Ollie says

    Joe is full of javalina poop and should try a job at Walmart. Scaring them away is very temporary. Once they get used to an area they’ll return often. We have a herd that has been getting in the yard. A few small stakes & chicken wire fencing is no more a deterant than a wash cloth. The alpha male can make minemeat out of your family pet. While they do scare easily, if cornered can pose quite a risk. A medium sized javelina can knock a man down woith little effort. Thowing a can of pennies at them is stupid. They’ll eat darn near anything. They’ve ravaged our grape vines & other plants & flowers and will even dig through the compost pit. A solid fence of livestock wire & posts is probably best and perhaps the least you should do..

  4. jody says

    With the drought conditions, they are looking for water and stuff to eat. Dont feed them, Dont bother them. And when they poop in your yard throw it away or compost it. A low electric fence does just fine to keep them out. Sadly alot of people feed Coyotes, and javelina which makes them unafraid. Leave them alone and enjoy them when you see them.

  5. maryhysong says

    Javalina are peccarys and they are not pigs. They are also not cute! They also carry RABIES! I would never run or yell at one unless there is a strong fence between us! My dog chased one and it attacked, cost $280 at the vets ten years ago to get stitched back up!

    They will eat your entire garden down to the ground, they tear up and pull up what they don’t eat. They are nasty animals. I would much rather have real wild boars. At least those are tasty!

  6. Arizona Lady says

    Javelinas are digging craters in my front yard! Last year they chewed off 4 metal raingutter downspouts. Our Homeowners Assn forbids fences in the front yard. After spending so much money on landscaping, my front yard now looks like an open pit mine!

    Javelinas are not cute; they are destructive. If I owned a gun, I would shoot them even if it’s illegal because Game and Fish and no other government service can do anything about javelinas who do their destruction in the middle of the night.

    The other suggestions are ridiculous—are you supposed to stay up all night in the chance that they will attack your property and then what? They charge at YOU? If I didn’t live in an HOA I would shoot the critters. There are plenty more to go around here in the desert. Maybe it will be a deterrent if the head honcho javelina doesn’t return to his pack; the others just might get the message.

  7. Un says

    Being here first has nothing to do with the problem. I have tried everything except the pepper, including mountain lion urine, to no avail. In fact, the javelinas ate the foam pieces which were to contain the urine. I do not care that the javelinas smell, are ugly and deposit their droppings all over the place. I do care that they are more destructive that a road grader. Any USEFUL suggestion appreciated.

  8. Jim M says

    Javelinas are disgusting filthy dumb creatures. Anyone who finds them cute should go see a head doctor. Humans need a habitat too. If you use the argument they were here first, wheres your empathy for native american indian?

  9. louisa says

    I too would love to have them gone forever from our yard and what’s left of my plants. I will try the hot pepper and ammonia, with hopes to getting them gone.

  10. Leslie says

    A couple of years ago someone sent me Sees candy, which the UPS guys left by my front door. Of course all that was left was a mess, and since then ANY package left by my front door gets demolished by these disgusting creatures. They regularly dig up my sprinkler lines, poop all over my front door mat (what a welcome for my guests!) Drag their ugly, muddy (they’ve created a bog behind the tree in my front yard with my dug up sprinkler lines) across the front of my newly painted house. Have bitten my dog, and are simply put, unacceptable neighbors. I just sprinkled cayenne pepper in the bog and around my front door. Hopefully this will be unpleasant enough to make them look for another place to vandelize! I think I will also put pans of amonia by the front door and see if this helps….I will post again if it does.


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