Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What's That Wednesday?

This week's What's That Wednesday is: Javelina

I was mentioning to the Queen about some of the wildlife that could be found in the Davis Mountains, where I spent my vacation last week, and one such beast was the Javelina.

Javelina, also referred to as a peccary or skunk pig. Javelinas are medium-sized animals with a strong superficial resemblance to pigs. Like pigs, they have a snout ending in a cartilagenous disc, and eyes that are small relative to their head. Also like pigs, they use only the middle two digits for walking, although unlike pigs, the other toes may be altogether absent. Their stomach is non-ruminating, although it has three chambers, and is more complex than that of pigs.

Javelinas are omnivores, and will eat small animals, although their preferred food consists of roots, grass, seeds, and fruit. Pigs and javelinas can be differentiated by the shape of the canine tooth, or tusk. In European pigs the tusk is long and curves around on itself, whereas in javelinas, the tusk is short and straight. The jaws and tusk of javelinas are adapted for crushing hard seeds and slicing into plant roots, and they also use their tusks for defending against predators.

By rubbing the tusks together they can make a chattering noise that warns potential predators not to get too close. Javelinas are aggressive enough in temperament that they cannot be domesticated as they are likely to injure humans.

Check out Wikipedia for more information.


Queen B said...

1) I LOVE What's That Wednesday! Because I am usually the first to just hit wikipedia, but I think it's fun that you get to go learn more about these big words you use (LOL :)

2) an omnivore! Wow, you just don't run into too many of those.

3) I think we need to master this chattering noise to keep some of the co-workers away ;)

Andrea said...

Ummm, I see an omnivore every day....when I look in the mirror....

I have a picture from the trip of the snout and tusk of a javelina and my BIL took the jaw home with him with the intention of boiling off the flesh... yeah one evening out at the ranch it looks like some coyotes caught and killed one within a stones' throw of the cabin and left some parts (jaw, part of the snout, and a hoof)...

Queen B said...

yeah, silly, I know humans are mostly omnivorous ;) I meant in the animal kingdom.