Last Friday, a man walking on a path alongside Dove Mountain Boulevard was attacked by a javelina.
The man, 66, bitten several times, is undergoing a course of treatment for rabies.
The attack happened about 11:30 a.m. Jan. 1, when the walker heard a noise behind him. He turned around to see a female javelina charge him and bite him around the knee and thigh, knocking him to the ground.
The javelina attacked the man as he was on the ground, latching onto his wrist and forearm. It wouldn't let go, according to Mark Hart, the public information officer for Arizona Game and Fish Department in Tucson.
A passing bicyclist hit the javelina first in the head with a stick, and then with a log to get the animal off the walker. A Marana Police Department officer arrived on scene about the time the javelina ran onto Dove Mountain Boulevard, and started toward a group of people. The officer then sounded his siren and startled the javelina, which ran off into the desert. He pursued the javelina and killed it.
The bite victim was taken to Oro Valley Hospital, was treated for the bites and began the course of treatment for rabies.
Hart said authorities are "exercising due caution" with treating the victim for rabies due to the javelina's aggressive behavior.
"Since it was a sow, maybe there were young javelinas in the vicinity, although they weren't seen, and perhaps the animal though the offspring were at risk," Hart said. "But absent that, there really isn't a good explanation other than rabies. It was an unprovoked attack."
The attack comes on the heels of a recent rabid bobcat attack on a man in Oracle on Dec. 23. In the last year, there were 261 confirmed rabid animals in Arizona, roughly a third of them in Pima County.
"We may be more aware of cases because of drought conditions which are bringing animals into urban areas in search of water and food," Hart said.
Hart said the Arizona Game and Fish Department strongly advises against feeding animals such as javelinas. He also said pet owners should not leave food out overnight, and should make sure their pets are up-to-date with their shots. He also suggested carrying a walking stick and a whistle, and to never turn your back on an animal.
As of press time, test results had not yet been confirmed if the javelina was rabid.