SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A Valley woman has a warning for everyone after her dangerous face-to-face encounter with a group of javelinas.
It was a typical evening walk in north Scottsdale for Lara Espin, but it quickly turned to terror when she came across a javelina family of four.
“When they had two babies with them, I knew that was going to be a little problem," Espin said. "But this was my way home and there was no way I could get around it.”
Keeping her distance, Espin cautiously kept walking home with her two dogs.
“I was very aware when they were over there," Espin said. "I was way against the wall over here walking along so I could eye them the entire time.”
But the javelina had other plans.
“As I turned around, I looked and they were charging right at me and forced me up against a wall," Espin said.
That's when Espin said she started screaming for help and kicking sand.
“'Go away, go away,' yelling at them and the more that I yelled at them, the faster they were coming at me," she said.
Lara said she tried everything to fight them off, but without success.
“The parents came around the back side and bit my leg once, and as I was screaming they came around again and bit me another time," she said.
Amy Burnett with Arizona Game and Fish said while javelina attacking humans is rare, it can happen.
“Javelina can be dangerous," Burnett said.
Burnett has only counted five instances in the last five years in Arizona, and all of them also involved dogs.
“When a javelina smells a dog it thinks coyote, it doesn’t think dog," Burnett said. "So no matter how big or small your dog is, it’s going to think smell dog, think coyote and that’s what eats their babies.”
Burnett said if you see javelina, your best bet is to turn around right away. And if that is not an option, there's more you can do.
“You can yell in a low tone of voice and make yourself the predator in that situation," Burnett said.
In Espin's case, the loud noises she made didn’t work.
She said a neighbor helped her escape from the animals and get to the emergency room. That's where she was given several shots to protect her from the bites.
“In one arm and then the other arm and then they had to do several injections in the bite marks and one in the leg," Espin said.
Thankfully, she’s going to be OK and her dogs are not hurt, but it’s a walk she will never forget.
“You have no idea your adrenaline when you have four javelina running at you at full force," Espin said.
For more expert information about javelina from Arizona Game and Fish, click here.