Living with the Wildlife in New Mexico

Living in the high New Mexican desert has plenty of advantages but with life there are occasional downsides.  With wide open spaces and an extremely low human population density the other species that share the local environment are up close and personal frequently doing damage in their daily browsing.

First it was the cattle (an introduced species), congregating at the entrance and jumping the cattle guard.  That issue was resolved with fencing the new property and building walls along the road.  This left only the road leading to the Painted Pony Resort for cattle to wander along.  With no feed or water they have chosen to stay elsewhere.  Then large holes began to appear around the buildings foundations and along irrigation lines, even several new trees were dug out.  Although no animal was ever observed digging (the damage occurred at night), the best guess was a badger had moved in.  It dug up numerous irrigation lines (presumably hearing flowing water) and made a general mess of things.  Cayenne pepper proved to remedy that problem.  Purchased from My Spice Sage, liberal amounts sprinkled around the diggings appeared to deter the mystery animal.  Now a new species has arrived, Javelina.  On several occasions a small herd of 6 Javelina were observed on the property and while entertaining for guests, the low rainfall this winter means less available natural forage and the Javelina have expanded their range.  Reports from the neighbors, a mile west, reported the Javelina were eating all the available succulents and cactus on their property indicating the problem was not limited to the estate.

So the animals took to raiding the front planting area as well as other spots on the estate.  First, all the spineless prickly pear planted last year disappeared from along the driveway.  The animals just hopped over the chicken wire placed to keep the rabbits out and devoured each cactus  (a local bobcat observed this spring by guests was keeping the rabbits in check).  Then upon coming outside one morning this heard of Javelina were all standing around finishing off all the Agave that were raised for use at the front entrance.  Finally, they moved onto the front planting area.  They were caught in the act several times and they rapidly moved off when approached, but they returned.  So out came the Cayenne pepper again in the hopes they would find it so unappealing they would move on.  The pepper had some effect and many plants survived foraging attempts, but the Javelina would always manage to get one plant (in this case a small species of Yucca).  So it was time for physical barriers, t-posts and barbwire.  Each tender and appealing yucca was surrounded with t-posts and barbwire strung starting several inches off the ground.  The idea was to create a physical barrier in addition to the olfactory barrier (cayenne pepper) to discourage the Javelina from browsing in the planting area and destroying the vegetation.  

wildlife property damage
Javelina leftovers

keeping out wildlife
One solution to protect plants


  1. When it is dry and nothing to eat for animals of any sort sometimes causes lots of problems, sorry to hear about this.

    Last year I had a squirrel and did not know they could cause problems but it did, so had to figure out how to fix that problem.

    My quest in La Poloma said they seen a bobcat in the RV Park last week.

  2. Trying to keep an even keel when it comes to wildlife, but they can create a lot of work which requires time and energy.

  3. 48 hrs and no Javelina sightings. Found where they were resting during the day on the property and repeated visits in combination with urine seems to have persuaded them to move elsewhere.