Man tries to pet hungry javelina during road trip – it doesn't go well

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Javelina might not be as dangerous as feral hogs, but putting your fingers near one's snout isn't the best idea, as one man learned on a recent road trip. 

In a video shared this week via infamous Instagram account TouronsOfNationalParks (which specializes in calling out bad behavior at sites of natural beauty) the man can be seen wiggling his fingers through a car window to coax one of the pig-like animals closer. The javelina approaches, but rather than acquiesce to head scratches, jumps up to bite him.

Javelina have a very nasty bite, so it's important avoid approaching, touching or feeding them while hiking. It's possible that this particular animal may have been habituated by people feeding it from their cars, and was in the habit of approaching vehicles.

The other main risk is to dog-walkers. Like many wild animals, javelina can't differentiate between a domestic dog and a wolf or coyote, and may try to attack you and your pet. In 2022, two people were attacked by javelina in Tucson, Arizona, within three days, including an 11-year-old girl. Both incidents also involved dogs.

Javelina can carry rabies, which can be transmitted to humans and animals through saliva in bites and scratches. They can also carry canine distemper.

"Defensive javelina behavior may include charging, teeth clacking, or a barking, growling sound," says Arizona Game and Fish Department. "Javelina may act defensively when cornered, to protect their young, or when they hear or smell a dog."

For more details, see our guide what is a javelina? And what should you do if you meet one on a hike?

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.