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Javelina and H2O

Javelina and water, now here's a debate.  Most researchers report permanent water sources/holes are essential to a herd establishing a home range within a particular area.  At least one study reports nursing sows need to drink water at least once a day, so a herd must have a reliable water source in order to thrive.  

Texas Bighorn Society Web-Cam  Javelina w/piglets visiting a remote man-made water source. (Click on photo to enlarge)  The Texas Bighorn Society installed a portable camera system in wild desert bighorn sheep habitat in the mountains of West Texas. The camera is motion activated, and download still photos to their website twice daily, giving them an opportunity to view wild sheep (and other animals) in their natural habitat without the disturbance of actually being on site. What caught my attention about this site, is that after reviewing 100s of photos, I noticed the Javelina (with young piglets) only visited the site every 10 to 14 days...what happen to needing water every day?.. I guess they may of had another water source..

A research project by University of Arizona professor, Lyle Sowls, demonstrated captive Javelina fed a diet of prickly pear only could easily remain healthy for 10 weeks; extracting all their water and nutrient requirements from the cactus.  However, after 15 weeks (that's 3 months without water!), they became weakened and emaciated and in two cases died from oxalic acid poisoning.  Prickly pear has a high content of oxalic acid, which has a cumulative toxic effect.    

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Javelina having a drink.  Photo by Shirley Curtis. Click on photo to enlarge.

Based on my hunting experience (code word for opinion), if water is free standing and available, the herd will utilize it from time to time, maybe even wallow in the cool mud in the heat of the summer.  I routinely hunt a flat land herd where the only water available to them  is 3 - 4 miles as the crow flies.  When I first started hunting that area, I would walk the edge of the stock tank, checking the mud for tracks during each scouting and hunting trip.  In over 20 times of walking it, I've never found a Javelina track in the stock tank mud... I don't walk around the stock tank anymore, but I still hunt the area. 

I believe Javelina are capable of, and often do maintain hydration for 3, 5, 7  even 10+ days at a time (under moderate dry desert conditions) by utilizing the many varied succulent plants and cacti.

This Javelina "camped-out" in the backyard of a resident of the area near the Goldfield Mountains East of Mesa, Arizona.  Note the bird feeder and water bowl in the background. Shade, good food & drink, what else a guy need?..Photo By CK Rairden.

In terms of hunting Javelina, don't bother building a stand or ground blind at a water hole.  Even when they do frequent a water source, the majority of the time it's at night.

Note to readers. The Javelina University section was developed from information derived from over 20 different Javelina related informational sources. Please visit the References page.


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Last modified: Wednesday July 11, 2012.