Neither the tallest wall nor the coldest ICE can stop these naturally invasive species from crossing and re-crossing the U.S. Southern border with impunity.
Javelinas (also known as Peccaries or Musk Hogs) look and act rather pig-like but are not related to domestic swine or wild boars. These shaggy omnivores were once kept as pets by the ancient Maya, and more recently gave Travis Coates a hard time until Old Yeller came to his rescue.
The northern limit of the Javelina's home range rubs up against the US-Mexico border, though we would strongly advise against rubbing up against a Javelina... those sharp tusks aren't just there for show. (border animal image above via Larry Lamsa and at top via Oregon State University – Matt Clark)
2) Horned Lizards
The distinctive reptiles popularly known as “horny toads” are common creatures of the American desert southwest. Infamous for squirting blood from their eyes as a defensive strategy, horned lizards are comprised of over a dozen different subspecies native to North America (which does include Mexico, by the way).
The largest and most widespread subspecies is the Texas Horned Lizard – it's been the Official Reptile of the Lone Star State since 1993, a lot of good that does 'em. (border animal image via ALAN SCHMIERER)
Roadrunners are birds of the Cuckoo family but don't take 'em lightly: they're about the only birds that successfully prey on rattlesnakes and tarantula hawks. Roadrunners do not go “beep-beep”, by the way, unless the Roadrunner in question happens to bear the Plymouth nameplate.
Roadrunners don't migrate, instead remaining in their desert habitat year-round where they continually frustrate the half-baked plans of Wile E Coyote. (border animal image via mnchilemom)
4) Tarantula Hawks
Don't let the avian name fool ya: Tarantula Hawks are wasps that grow to the size of small birds. They're also extremely badass for a number of other reasons, chiefly because (a) they prey on tarantulas and (b) their sting ranks second to the notorious Bullet Ant on the Schmidt sting pain index. ICE should pay these guys – gals, actually, it's the females who sting – to patrol the border.
In 1989, New Mexico residents showed their respect for this beautiful yet terrifying critter by voting it the state's Official Insect. Presumably, tarantulas weren't allowed to vote. (border animal image via David Crummey)
5) Gila Monsters
Southwesterners know the Gila Monster well... more to the point, they know to keep well out of its ugly face. These prehistoric-looking, black & orange reptiles can grow up to 2 feet long and they're the only venomous lizards native to the USA.
Gila Monsters may have an ominous reputation but they're not dangerous to people, unless unreasonably provoked. Fun fact: though usually associated with Arizona and protected under the laws of that state, the Gila Monster is actually the official reptile of Utah. (border animal image via Nefci)
6) Kangaroo Rats
If any animal could meet the challenge of a big, beautiful, see-through border wall, it's the Kangaroo Rat. Native to the southwestern USA and northern Mexico, these desert-adapted bipedal rodents hop like their antipodean namesakes and can leap over 9 feet in the air at a single bound.
Kangaroo Rats mainly eat seeds, and they store their finds in expandable cheek pouches while they're out foraging. Their complex underground burrows often have several entrances, which they plug in hot weather to keep the interior galleries cool and humid. (border animal image via Pacific Southwest Region USFWS)
Sidewinders are venomous pit vipers native to the deserts of eastern California, southern Nevada, and western New Mexico. Their main identifying features are horn-like scales over the eyes, a “rattle” on the tip of the tail, and the distinctive method of locomotion from which their colloquial name is derived.
Sidewinder venom is weaker than that of other rattlesnakes. That's not to say they can be trifled with – though rarely fatal, Sidewinder bites can be extremely painful, even after treatment with antivenin. As for REM singing about “Sidewinders sleeping tonight”, that's only half-right: these reptiles are day-active in cooler months and nocturnal in summer. (border animal image via gilaman)
We're talking about the howling canines, not the people-smugglers referenced by President Trump when tweeting about the “National Emergency Concerning the Southern Border of the United States”.
Pesky though they can be, you've got to give these wily canines credit. They've greatly expanded their home range by learning to coexistence with humans, though not so much with their delicious pets. They also deserve kudos for pioneering the concept of virtual shopping (with ACME) decades before Amazon came along. Evil geniuses or fur-bearin' varmints? Why not both! (border animal image above via National Park Service)