Wildlife Takes Over Cities: Colonization Threat or Rendering New Biological Systems?

As people flock to cities, they are not alone. Foxes, mountain lions, bears, coyotes, raccoons, and other wild species are figuring out smart ways to live among people. Just like us, they like the fruits of civilization, including hot dogs, potato chips, seemingly no worse for the junk food diet, and now artificial grass for a change.


2014-01-23T19:25:06+00:00
Like
Comment
Save

An 82-pound mountain lion roams the San Francisco streets tiptoeing into the night without ever being seen. In downtown Chicago, a coyote lives in the cemetery, eating chicken the mourners place on the graves. More than 5,000 coyotes roam the city of Los Angeles feeding on garbage cans, food left from pets and small pets themselves. Raccoons are often quests in urban backyards across the country, along with skunks, gophers, moles, and opossums. Attracted to plentiful food and protected from hunting, a veritable menagerie of creatures calls cities home. If they call your backyard their home, there is little you can do about it. It happened to a couple with two young daughters who live in Ashton, Bristol.

The fox's family tunneled under the deck, occupied the backyard and as "Metro News" speculated, took family hostage. The worst thing is, Zoe Hunt and her husband Dan had just invested thousands of dollars in the backyard upgrade; the composite decking and artificial grass installation. Now allegedly it's being trashed by unwelcomed guests. Foxes are running riot of synthetic turf, pooping, and peeing; they seem to feel very comfortable and have no intention on leave. They are rummaging through garbage bins on the street. If you ever lived in the area with foxes, you know how they scream at night. Their screams are loud and high-pitched, sometimes frightening as it sounds like a human cry.

Family of foxes colonized the backyard

There are five times more foxes in England than anyone can think. They plummeted by 43 percent over the past twenty years. It's nearly 150,00 urban foxes; about one for every 300 urban residents. In the United States, red foxes adapted to towns and cities as well. They eat mice, birds, invertebrates, berries, and leftover pizza. Like cats, they love to navigate around the urban areas and can access more parts of the city than less agile carnivores such as badgers. Many people enjoy wild animals in their backyards in the sense of having wildlife in their gardens. Fox prey on rats and birds, and like cats, help to control pest populations. However, they can also spread diseases harmful to humans, so it's not a good idea to lure them into your residence with food.

With so many animals going urban, we may as well consider cities as a part of nature, and not the way around. Most people tend to believe that adaptation is a part of our evolutionary heritage; it's what leads us to better biological systems. The concept sounds straight forward: genes that help to enhance survival tend to reproduce themselves, and thus, those genes and correlative behaviors grow more frequent. For example, in the cold artic, we see more stocky and fat body type people since this body type helps to conserve heat. But not all natural adaptations are good for the biological system.

Imagine, you have grown up in a rural area with fresh, clean air and then moved to a noisy, dense, air polluted city, New York, for example. Over time, you would become adapted to air pollution and would less likely recognize its presence. It doesn't mean your health is getting better. The noisy streets of Manhatten still act as a stressor on your biosystem. Daily traffic jams cause constant stress, whether you like it or not. You might be adapted to the taste of french fries, whoppers, big macs, sodas, milkshakes, and fried chicken, but we all realize the junk food diet damages our health. The same is happening to animals.

Becoming a successful city dweller means being quick, resourceful, and adaptable. The omnivores are fitted the best for the big town's living. They can eat almost anything, from fruits to leather, pizzas, and leftovers. With at least 400,00 animals killed annually, to survive and breed, animals must have an excellent problem-solving ability to avoid people, no matter where they are.

Biologists at Montreal’s McGill University tested the problem-solving skills of finches from rural and urban environments. The results have shown that urban birds performed much better than their rural rivals. We all know how easy raccoons can get into the trash can; the collected data revealed that 80 percent of the city animals passed the test, while the urban raccoons are mostly failed to try their best in getting a free meal.

From a health step-point, thriving on junk food diet does raise the animal's cholesterol. However, urban foxes are doing surprisingly well, even having more babies. Some biologists suspect that a bad diet doesn't catch up with animals as much as with humans because animals are short-lived.

It's yet to be discovered how the animal's adaptation to cities and new diets affect future generations, but some animals are better to adapt than others due to their personality traits. Coyotes, for example, benefit from their shyness and fear of new things. A curious raccoon may do well in a city. Deers, bears, and cougars in California are among the myriad of creatures struck in California by motor vehicles and cost California hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

While smaller animals can quickly adapt to new life conditions, it's not easy for large animals as they didn't develop instincts yet to avoid road collisions. The death toll of the highways kills starts with 6,000 animals hits every year, and this number is only for 10 percent of the California paved roadways.

Animals-filled cities are just beautiful places to be, but the question remains unanswered: how do we turn cities into something positive for wildlife? People in the country see wildlife all the time; when they see it, they don't call for authorities. Florida residents in 1950th were so used to hanging out alligators in their backyards; they didn't raise the alarm; just made hissing noises to chase them away from a property as they would do with any unwelcomed pet.

For city residents and their pets, wild animals often feel like a threat. The growing wildlife is on the verge of colonizing cities; at least how it sounds like from the media reports. But it doesn't seem like animals have a choice; do they really enjoy facing a new set of problems or being destroyed by hunters and domestic animals? Guess not.

As concrete jungles and actual jungles start bleeding into each other and intertwine, wild animals are calling cities home more and more. They follow the rules of the road. They downsize their homes. They change their schedules, and they get bolder. But let's get it straight: many of the species offer services to people who live in those cities.

The scavengers offer clean up services, helping to protect waterways from roadkill runoff and the spread of disease. While humans produce waste, urban animals are using litter as a food source. Foxes and free-roaming cats keep the mice's population down. (mice are often injected with Lyme-infected ticks.) Snakes help to control the rodent population. Opossums and raccoons are aggressive groomers, killing thousand of ticks in a season, so while they are abundant, the ticks population is lower. So, the next time you see a raccoon in your garbage bin, don't forget to say "Thank you." Bats, purple martins, swallows, swifts, and some songbirds are great in keeping the mosquitos out. Welcoming rat- and mosquito's predators into cities do not only offer pest management; it also beneficial to our health and well-being.

Biodiversity matters; the more there is, the more resilient the ecosystem. Thus, more wildlife diversity there is in a city, the more resilient we are to disturbances, floods, and increasing heat. Wildlife provides incredible benefits to our communities.

Like
Comment
Save
White House new laws water bills government regulations artificial grass

A new bill signed by Governor Brown last Friday, October 9, 2015, protects a right of the home-, and business owners install artificial grass. According to a law, cities, HOAs, and counties cannot prohibit the use of synthetic turf and other drought-tolerant landscaping.

In the fourth year of historic drought, Californians was ordered to cut their water usage by 25 percent. The target was met for the last three months. Without sufficient irrigation, lawns are letting go brown and die.


Artificial Grass Cost Calculator
Artificial Grass Cost Calculator

Calculate installation costs online! Synthetic lawn vs. natural turf maintenance, initial installation prices, labor and landscape services costs, gallons of water you use every year. Start now and save!

Artificial Grass Installation Calculator Materials
Synthetic Turf DIY Costs

Instantly get the list of materials you need for installation with associated amounts, costs, and rental equipment fees.


Find a Local Dealer
Star Grass 35 Artificial Grass

Fashionable and versatile, perfectly suited to be the star of any outdoor event and the finishing touch that completes your home's meticulously designed yard.

Olive color artificial grass 51 oz.

Olive-51 is the most economical answer to all your landscape problems. Designed to handle up to medium levels of foot traffic, this durable turf is the top choice for landscapes - including ones designated for pet use.

Pet Artificial Turf U-Blade shape, Premium backing, U Blade, Free Samples. Pet Turf.

With the Pet Turf, you dont have to worry about dirty and muddy paws on your kitchen floors. Installed artificial grass keeps the danger of ticks, fleas, and other pests down. It is known that some pesticides and fertilizers can cause some serious sicknesses in animals.

Olive Stem Shape Blade 92 ounces synthetic grass

Built for medium to heavy foot traffic areas, the realistically wide shaped blades of the Stem Grass design make Olive-92 Stem Grass the premier choice for natural looking landscapes without the hassle of living grass upkeep.

Cashmere 52 ounces artificial grass

Cashmere 52 is ideal for deck, patio, roof, sports, pet turf, playgrounds, landscape. Turn your lawn into a beautiful, lush and tranquil retreat and forget about monthly maintenance fees for the next twenty years.

Spring artificial grass 50 oz. green emerald lime

Perfect for your commercial or residential landscape designs, safe for children & pets. Soft blades of green grass will last year after year despite extreme weather and wear.

Double S Blade shape artificial grass 72 ounces

Utilizing the latest technology to create the ultimate in artificial grass luxury and comfort, Double S-72 is outstanding for a surprisingly comfortable synthetic grass product that feels great when you kick your shoes off.

W Shape Blade 80 oz. artificial grass turf

Engineered with KoolMax Technology, the unique W blade shape diffuses sunlight and heat through the curves of its blades, lowering the overall temperature of the turf up to 15 degrees.


Find Artificial Grass in Your City

Portland Cheyenne Grand Forks Cincinnati Pearl City Atlanta Providence Spokane San Jose Davenport Las Cruces Newark Charlotte Aurora Virginia Beach Wilmington Enchanted Hills Burlington Cleveland Colchester Worcester Memphis Fort Smith Grand Rapids Kansas City Allentown Warwick Fort Wayne Bellevue Norfolk

Global Syn-Turf, Inc. is a leading manufacturer and wholesaler of high-quality artificial grass in the United States and Canada. The company offers an extensive selection of products for commercial and residential landscapes, playgrounds, sports athletic fields, municipalities, golf putting greens and pet areas. Global Syn-Turf, Inc. provides innovative, environmentally friendly synthetic turf systems which require little maintenance, no water, pesticides, or fertilizers through multiple company-owned distribution centers across the United States. The state-of-the-art artificial grass offers realism, drainage, performance, safety, and durability. Global Syn-Turf is the exclusive artificial grass partner of San Francisco 49ers.

error message

Thank you for your question.