Javelinas typically don't attack humans unless the human is feeding them or if they mistake a dog out for a walk for a coyote.

Javelinas typically don't attack humans unless the human is feeding them or if they mistake a dog out for a walk for a coyote.
An unusual number of javelina attacks — four in as many weeks — in the Tucson suburb of Oro Valley has led officials to believe that someone in the area is illegally feeding the animals.

The first attack was Oct. 7 and the most recent was Monday, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department. All of the attacks happened when a javelina suddenly charged people who were walking their dogs. Javelinas cannot tell the difference between a dog and a coyote, their natural prey, said Mark Hart, spokesman for the department.

"What's unusual about this is four attacks in rapid succession in the same community," Hart said.

One dog died from the attack and two more were injured, Hart said. The javelinas also bit two of the pet owners who attempted to intervene. While they don't typically bite humans, javelinas have large canine teeth that can deliver deep puncture wounds.


"They don't just charge people out of the blue," Hart said. "They're either startled because someone's feeding them and they snap, or smell that dog, mistake it for a coyote and attack."

If an owner is out walking their dog and sees a javelina, they should turn around and go the opposite direction, he advised.

There are four golf courses, which make comfortable urban habitat for javelinas, in the area near where the attacks happened. Two of the attacks happened near the edges of local golf courses.

The department suggests that dog owners, for the moment, steer clear of golf courses while walking their pets.

"We strongly suspect that there is illegal wildlife feeding going on at one or more of these locations," Hart said.

Anyone who knows of someone purposefully or inadvertently feeding javelinas or other wildlife is asked to report it to the department by calling 1-800-352-0700.

An example of unintentional feeding could be bird seed spilling from a feeder.

If you see a javelina, you can scare them away by making loud noises or spraying it with a garden hose.

"We encourage non-lethal deterrents, we just don't want them hanging around," Hart said.