• Lower Cliff Dwelling


    National Monument Arizona

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  • Visitor Center is closed

    The Visitor Center and bookstore will be closed for several weeks for construction. A temporary Visitor Center will be set up in the parking lot. The trail to the Lower Cliff Dwelling will be open during this period. No entrance fees will be collected.

Collared Peccary

collared peccary

collared peccary

NPS Photo

Collared peccary
Pecari tajacu

Body length: 34 - 36"
Diet: Prickly pear, mesquite beans, grubs, etc.

Though its official name is collared peccary, in Arizona this species is better known as javelina, a Spanish word pronounced "hav-a-LEEN-ah". Javelina are not wild pigs or boars, which are domestic pigs gone wild. Rather, this native species is the only US member of a mammal family which is widespread in Central and South America. Peccaries differ from pigs in many ways, including the absence of large tusks and their smaller size. Javelina are highly social animals, traveling in family groups or herds of three to eighteen individuals. Each herd has a particular scent, based on musk secretions, that forms the basis for mutual recognition. They are not often seen here during the day, preferring shady areas such as dense vegetation and shallow caves.

Are javelina expanding their range northward? Possibly, as they now occur in northern Arizona in areas where they did not occur historically. However, they have been in southern Arizona at least since the arrival of Europeans.

Did You Know?

old photo of the Lower Cliff Dwellings

The first known written record of the cliff dwellings at Tonto National Monument dates from 1880. Archeologist Adolph Bandelier visited the dwellings in 1883, and said they were some of the best preserved he had ever seen. More...