Aubrey Greener remembers seeing her first javelinas while hiking in Big Bend National Park ten years ago. She’d just rounded a corner on the Mule Ears Trail when she came face-to-face with a family of the furry gray ungulates—a mother and two babies, called “reds” because of their reddish fur when they’re young. Greener inadvertently shrieked so loudly (with joy) that she scared them away, but after that day, she couldn’t stop thinking about how adorable the piglike young were.

Recently, while on TikTok, Greener abruptly stopped scrolling. On her screen was the tawny fur, tiny hooves, and pink snout of a baby javelina. And wait—was it sleeping on a cozy blanket atop someone’s bed? She kept watching. A voiceover explained that, actually, this wasn’t a baby. It was a teacup javelina, meaning it was only slightly larger than a baby but wouldn’t grow any bigger. Greener felt lightheaded with excitement and went to the TikToker’s page to learn more. “I couldn’t believe my eyes,” she said. “All their videos showed this tiny little thing trotting around the house or drinking milk from a bottle. I wanted one immediately.”

It wasn’t long before she was on the road to Fable Acres, a breeding center for the hooved pets in Seguin, 45 minutes northeast of San Antonio. Laws on keeping exotic animals as pets are relatively loose in Texas, making it the perfect place for the operation. “It’s very much part of the Texan spirit to innovate and to harness nature for our own use,” says Fable Acres owner Linda Hunter. She started by hiring a team of three ranch hands to round up the smallest adult javelinas they could find, making sure their genetics were suitable for breeding the teacup-size critters she desired. “I got the idea when I saw teacup pigs for sale on Craigslist in 2005. These people were making two thousand dollars a pig, and I thought: I can do you one better.” 

After seventeen years of experimental breeding—during which she almost gave up several times—the javelina entrepreneur had created the ideal creature: only 15 pounds (adult javelinas are normally 35 to 45 pounds) and about the height of an adult cat. She also says she bred selectively to bring about the most docile javelinas, perfect for cuddling with in bed while watching Animal Planet.

When we arrive at the center, Hunter leads Greener and me through to what she calls the Tea Room, where all her available teacup javelinas live. On the floor leading up to the door are decals of tiny hooves. We can hear a faint chorus of snorts and squeals as the animals anticipate our arrival. While javelinas don’t have great eyesight, they do possess excellent smell and hearing. As the door opens, Hunter pushes her foot through sideways to prevent their escape.

There are ten javelinas in total, and while they certainly wouldn’t fit into a teacup, they are quite small compared to the size of a typical adult. In fact, they look just like baby javelinas, downy and still toddling. “This is Madoff, Holmes, Trojan, Phish,” she says, pointing to one after the other. I ask her how exactly she decided on those names. “This one ‘made off’ with my heart. This one is curious like . . . Sherlock. This one’s headstrong like a warrior. Phish the band,” she replies. “What about the band?” I ask. “Phish the band,” she says.

As we talk, Greener seems to have zeroed in on one javelina in particular. Hunter looks over. “That’s Big Fat Liar,” she says. She turns to me. “After the top box office hit Big Fat Liar, starring Paul Giamatti and Frankie Muniz.” Greener scoops him into her lap, grinning. “It’s decided,” she says.

After paying Hunter the steep $15,000 and receiving the short list of care instructions for her rare pet, Greener and I are back on the road; Big Fat Liar is in her lap in the passenger seat. “You’re my little Big Fat Liar,” she coos to him. “Mama loves you!” She touches her nose to his snout. 

Six months pass and I drop by Greener’s house in the north Austin suburb of Round Rock to check in. I wait for what seems like three full minutes at the door. Finally she opens it a crack, peering out. “I managed to corral him,” she says, letting me in fully. On the other side of the door it appears her house has been beset by particularly rambunctious toddlers—couches are torn open, stuffing scattered across the floor, and there are mysterious smears on the carpet and walls. 

“He’s in here,” she whispers. “Move slowly.” I open the door slightly to find a full-grown javelina, maybe twenty inches tall, chowing down on a disc of prickly pear cactus. The floor is covered in straw, which he kicks up behind him after he finishes eating. “I’ve already given him all the cacti and succulents in my yard—I’ve started stealing from neighbors to feed him. Or I give him whatever I have left in my pantry.” I see the shreds of a box of Raisin Bran in the corner. I ask her if they’ve done any cuddling. “Yes!” she says. “Although… ” She takes a deep sniff of her shirt sleeve. “I’ve had to switch to twice-daily showers and get my couch professionally cleaned.” I nod, wondering if she’s noticed my nasally voice from keeping my nose plugged the entire visit.

So, would she say the $15,000 was worth it? 

“My boyfriend left me, I’m being evicted, and I constantly smell like a farm,” she says. “But at least I have this enormous wild animal to keep me company!” As if in response, we hear the sound of Greener’s very-much-not-teacup-size javelina snorting and stomping its hooves. I think that’s my cue to leave.

April Fools! This is a fake article. The editors of Texas Monthly regret to inform you that teacup javelinas are not real (and neither, for that matter, are teacup pigs), though miniature cows, beer-drinking goats, and blue sea dragons very much are.