/ Modified oct 31, 2022 4:38 p.m.

Javelinas trick for treats: carved pumpkins in danger of being eaten

The Halloween tradition of jack-o-lanterns can lure javelinas to neighborhoods for an evening snack.

Halloween Pumpkin spot

More than just children will be out trick or treating this Halloween. Javelinas will be on the hunt for their favorite snack–pumpkins.

The Halloween tradition of leaving a carved pumpkin on your doorstep may lure unwanted visitors to your doorstep. To avoid any tricks, Arizona Game and Fish department’s Mark Hart suggests putting jack-o-lanterns on a windowsill that may be seen from the street or placing them high up on a fence or wall.

While javelinas cannot see well, they do have an excellent sense of smell making it easy for them to find pumpkins at your doorstep.

“In the past two weeks, we've had javelina attacks in the Sam Hughes neighborhood Midtown,” Hart said. “Fortunately, no one was injured, although a dog was. It just goes to show that even if you live Midtown, you can have javelina in your community.”

However, injuries have occurred due to javelina attacks in previous years. In 2009, a woman in Catalina Foothills opened her front door to find 10 javelinas eating her jack-o-lanterns. The javelinas were startled and knocked the woman over causing her to have puncture wounds on her leg and a broken arm.

“We need to maintain situational awareness in this community, which is unique in that it's on the urban wildland interface,” Hart said. “Many neighborhoods have washes running through them and where there’s a wash, you can find wildlife.”

Hart also suggests leaving furry friends at home while trick or treating. Javelinas cannot distinguish a dog from a coyote, their natural predator.

Once it is time to dispose of your carved pumpkin, place it in a trash can with a tight fitting lid and take out the trash the day of trash pickup–not before–as javelinas know how to knock down trash cans.

If you experience any wildlife issues, call the Arizona Game and Fish department’s 24/7 dispatch center at (623) 236-7201.

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