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Animals

I Ate All Your Precious Golf Worms And I’d Do It Again

Collared Peccary or Javelina is widespread through the Southwestern United States and Central and South America. It is not a member of the pig family, despite its looks.
Jon G. Fuller/VW PICS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Oh, is your precious grass all torn up? Your bluegrass/rye mixture, so uniform, so manicured, now a heaping pile of unsightly dirt after I got my tusks and snout in there to get at some delicious, delicious earthworms? Are you going to cry about it?

Go ahead and whine about it to the state government. See what they do! I'll just lie here in the shade, digesting those juicy worms and thinking about my next meal: I think I smelled a bunch of grubs under that creeping bentgrass you call the 16th green. I'm gonna invite even more of my friends over next time.

Javelinas don't belong on golf courses? Buddy, your golf course doesn't belong in javelina country. I was here first. I'm a javelina, also known as a peccary or, colloquially, a New World pig. That last one is a clue to how long we've been here: I'm not actually a pig. We're the Western Hemisphere's closest relatives to swine, which means we split off from them and settled here while you were still a monkey in a tree—apes didn't even exist yet, let alone "Arizona."

This landscape was a porcine paradise. Seeds and berries, roots and vines, and bugs! So many bugs, more bugs than you could shake a hoof at. A veritable ungulate eden, a green and wet valley oasis in the middle of the unforgiving desert. We were happy here, and well-fed. And then you had to go and evolve and cross the Bering Land Bridge and invent civilization and irrigation and build the Seven Canyons private golf club in Sedona. Look what this used to be like before you ruined it for us!

And now I'm treated like a pest? Like some common feral hog that's only destroying the landscape because you screwed up and let me out? You're a pest. We've been here 35 million years. We should hunt you from helicopters.

I don't really understand golf—I am a javelina—but I understand water. The Verde River provides just enough water to make this valley a little slice of heaven for us animals, but not nearly enough to do things like "build and maintain 200 acres of well-kept fairways," let alone support several hundred thousand people. So when you build a golf course in my house, and dump so much water on it that it becomes a worm buffet, how surprised can you really be when I and dozens of my friends show up for dinner? You're wasting precious water to play a little game, while I'm just trying to survive. Who do you think is more motivated here?

I also understand water well enough to know that this entire Sun Belt thing is unsustainable for you. It'd be a tragedy, in the Greek sense—I am a javelina; of course I read the classics—if your hubris weren't so self-insistent. I know I'll have the last laugh. But I'm going to eat some more of your worms first.

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