Javelinas Like This? Baby, They Were Born to Run

Look! Down on the ground, racing through the streets of Arizona! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a pig! It’s a boar!

It’s actually a javelina: resembling a large-ish hog to an amateur’s eye, but more accurately a salt-and-pepper-coated peccary. And boy, can it move.

The javelina in question (that’s javelina like have, the Spanish pronunciation, not like javelin) was filmed last week sprinting along the side of the road in Tucson, Ariz. As far as 12-second viral videos go, the clip was on par with the cinematic greats: It was Forrest Gump running through Alabama. It was Simba galloping home to take his place as the rightful king of Pride Rock. All that was missing was the “Chariots of Fire” theme song.

The clip’s origins are a tad more commonplace. Damion Alexander, a real estate agent in Tucson, was looking at houses when he captured the video from the passenger seat of his client’s car. They slowed down to about 25-30 miles an hour to catch the clip, Mr. Alexander said. But the javelina kept pace — majestic strides and all.

On Saturday, Mr. Alexander shared the video on Facebook, where it gained some notice. But it wasn’t until Monday that the clip really, er, picked up speed when Hannah Tiede, a reporter from KOLD News, a local TV station, posted the javelina on Twitter. That clip now has more than seven million views.

As Ms. Tiede’s post took off, it seemed as if all of Twitter had united in a brief moment of joy. “Where is she going?” one user asked. “What is her story? Is she late for work?” Brands got involved.

Eventually, the video made its way to Teddy Martin, a 19-year-old student in New Orleans. A scene that momentous, he thought, needed a sweeping soundtrack to match.

“People are going to want to see ‘Running Up That Hill,’” he said. “People are going to want to see ‘Fast Car.’”

So Mr. Martin gave it to them with a Twitter account, @javelinarunning, devoted to presenting the javelina clip with the score it deserves. In one version, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.” In another, “I Ran.” “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” “Holding Out for a Hero.” “Chariots of Fire.” (That’s Mr. Alexander’s favorite, with the video slowed down to match the movie’s famed scene.)

Like perhaps many people outside the Southwest, Mr. Martin didn’t know what a javelina was at the beginning of the week. His new followers — more than 12,000 — have since set him straight. “I saw this video and was like, ‘Oh, it’s like a pig,’” he said in an interview Thursday. “And I had a ton of people be like, ‘Um, it’s not a pig. It’s a peccary, actually.’”

“I’m extremely well versed in javelinas now,” Mr. Martin added.

Javelinas are pretty common around Tucson, and are primarily found in Arizona, Texas and New Mexico, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

“There will be little ones that are just adorable, maybe 12 inches high,” Mr. Alexander said Thursday, “and they will destroy every plant.”

It’s not unusual for javelinas to run that fast, Mr. Alexander said, but he found it odd that the one he filmed was alone. “That might have been the issue, is that she was separated from her herd and just got startled,” he said. “And away she sprinted to become the most famous javelina in the nation.”

Mark Hart, a spokesman at the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Tucson office, was not quite as amused.

“That javelina was, in all probability, terrified,” he said Thursday. “It was looking for a way to get out. It did not want to be near that car.”

Javelinas are typically docile, Mr. Hart added, unless people try to feed them or they mistake a household pet for a predator. This one couldn’t figure out an escape route — but it did find a hole in the fence to duck into after the filming ended, Mr. Alexander said.

“We all want to get that great video or photo of wildlife,” Mr. Hart said. “But it’s much better video if it’s in their natural habitat as opposed to an urban habitat.”

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