Small animals have lived in cities for many years. They are so common that some people refer to (call) them as unnoticed neighbors because they aren’t aware of them (don’t know they’re there). New York’s Central Park is home to 300 species (kinds) of birds and many small mammals (animals that drink milk from their mother when they’re young). Boston’s Back Bay (protected part of the sea) was designed to create habitat (a home for animals) and attract animals that live in marshlands (ground that is always wet) to the city. As natural habitats shrink (get smaller) or disappear, manmade areas like these become more important. In many ways they are the best and safest kind of urban (city) habitat for animals that have no other place to go.
In other urban areas, chimneys (pipe for smoke), drainage ditches (system for moving unwanted water out of the city), and other structures (something that has been built) provide habitat for other animals. A drainage ditch just one block from where I live provides habitat for migrating (traveling) ducks and geese and a permanent home for a snowy egret.
But what happens when animals begin to leave the open areas in and around the cities and move into the inner city (downtown) or into neighborhoods where people live?
Often it’s okay. My wife works for a company that occupies a large, hilly park-like area. When she walks to her car after working in the evening, she is often serenaded (to serenade is to sing to someone) by the coyotes (photo above) who live in the area. During the day she may see a herd (group) of deer – as many as 20 – grazing on (eating) the grass as she drives from one place to another. This area is mostly surrounded (to be on every side) by houses, apartments, commercial buildings, and freeways, and the animals cause no problems.
Stan Gehrt, an animal researcher in Chicago, is impressed with the way some animals adapt to (become successful in) the urban environment. He tells of coyotes who wait until traffic clears (goes away) before running across the road. Sometimes they even stop on the median (area in between two sides of a road) and wait until the traffic moving the other direction clears before continuing across. One coyote in downtown Chicago seems to know when traffic lights are red or green. She waits until the cars stop before she runs across the road. She’s been doing that for more than three years and has never been hit by a car.
As cities grow and natural habitats shrink, Gehrt is worried that larger animals will come to town. And that’s happened here in southern California.
In the city of Glendale, a bear called Meatball made many visits to foothill (small hills below high mountains) neighborhoods. He ate from people’s trash containers and even got into an outdoor freezer (a place to keep frozen food) filled with frozen meatballs – that’s how he got his name! Officials tried twice (two times) to relocate (move) him deep into the Angeles National Forest, but he came back both times. He was finally taken to a wildlife sanctuary (safe place for animals) near San Diego.
The story doesn’t end there. A second bear has appeared in Glendale and made many visits during the last six months. On one visit he destroyed a group of bee hives (box where bees are kept) and ate much of the honey. Officials hope they can catch him soon and take him to the same wildlife sanctuary that Meatball lives in.
Have animals moved into the city where you live? What kind? Have they caused any problems?
~ Warren Ediger – English coach/tutor and creator of the Successful English website.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
Mostly rabbits and rakoons . Sometimes I see skunks as well.
That is all.
In fact not too many, here in a big citly like Madrid there are birds, squirrels in Retiro Park, some ducks, fishes, turtles, and what there are more pets that people doesn´t
want at home any more.
Hundred, thousands of cats, dogs, and other similar animals in the “Casa de Campo” where the poor little cast or dogs died after a short period of time.
Winter is too cold in Madrid and these animals have nothing, some organizations protect them but it is not enough.
Gatufo was taken down from a three in “Casa de Campo” when he was very, very little, two or three months only.
My daughter Fátima took him at home for Cuca and me.
Now our life has changed with our nice incredible Cat, so nice and good friend.
A pity we live in a condominio because it is sure I have a dog since years. I love cats and dogs, either horses….but this is even more difficult and expensive of having
It is necessary a lot of money.
So, there are very few animals here in Madrid, only humans that are in hurry alwasy. Some times I hate this city.
My best dear Warrenk, I envy you a lot.
Men through ages have always relied somehow on animals’ company to get their things done. I have a first hand experience keeping pets like horses, cows, dogs in our house. Using hours, for example we could easily travel from one place to another place especially when through the mountains. The dogs used to help us keep the house safe from strangers.
Now, after over 30 years from those days, I don’t have any pet at home.
Admitted, the lifestyle has ganged greatly since then. with many people living in small space (crowded cities) there is no room left for keeping animals (not to forget that many people barely find food to feed themselves, let alone giving food to the animals).
In the past few years there have been few incidents as to a wild animal came to the city to eliminate their hunger or thirst. Though I would feel fright when a wild animal is around, I feel sad for these poor animals. You, see, we destroyed their habitats, we made them wander up and down, we took their food, And now when they show up looking for food we kill them.
It’s crazy what human do to just keep himself safe.
I think it is an emergency to Officials think of a solution, before thousands of other animals disappear for ever.
Be sure If animals keep vanishing, there would be no other choice for Nature to destroy us to.
Yes! animals are a really great thing. Can you Imagine a planet with only us human!? I would have killed myself already.
Here in my local area there are three animals that cause many problems. They are my cats!
Hey, I kind of envy your wife. What a wonderful way of ending the workday! That must be beautiful. I would love to hear that.
I am wondering how my cats would react at hearing that…How is it called that singing of the Coyote?
I have this bunch of Crows that i feed at times.
Now that the Spring is coming, I can see ducks flying in couples. I think they are gonna make love.
Wow.. My writing sucks!
Bye Guys and thanks.
Good Parviz, I do think the same like you. Your have said it perfectly well.
Usually animals are better than humans by all means.
Too many animals have disareared already by the humans actions, with
not any sense.
In fact human it is the worst deprator of all, I can´t imagine a world without
You know , not that every animal can adopt them self to urban environments. Well, it goes without saying that There are some urban wildlife that are associated closely with human beings like rats , mouse
Squirrels ,chipmunks ,even in some regions you can see stray dogs and cats.
Well, as you well know , They have been and have lived around humans since Adam. They are ,in a way, some sort of accepted parasites. By that I mean , their existence totally depends on human. They feed off the crumbs we leave behind and all other food remnants. And they live in our basements or some other places like that , most probably , in small hopes or sth.
Take rats and mouse for example, I think they are the most common rodents living not very far from us in their hideouts ,bunkers if you will :)) since the beginning of formation of urban life.
I guess it is safe to say, they are totally displeasing and creepy looking creatures that we rather never bump into, although, we know they live very close by. Most people resent that but they made their peace with it. They acknowledged their existence with almost not doing about it.
This kind of wild life in cities ,in other words , suburban an urban environments has become an accepted norm. But, anything beyond that it is a tad unusual and rather scary. Don’t u think?
I ,for one , rest assure you that I will soil my pants if I become aware of the fact that a stray bear fumbling around trash cans right down the hill or even miles away from where I live let alone to choose a nickname for it:))
The same goes with coyotes and other mammals you mentioned above.
You know , last time I checked ,there is an animal control body in every city to call to ,once you run into even an amicably, friendly looking coyote,wolf , bear , or a tiger while waiting for the traffic light to turn green.
Dear warren , do u think people really feel safe having a wild animal roaming around their neighborhood and more importantly their children.i don’t think so. We might as well move to forest. :))
I ,myself, have had occasional encounters with a bunch of not really sociable wild Raccoons and once I had a stinky initiation with a mean skunk.:)))
Oh , gosh , it was back in 2004, I guess , I had this family raccoon moving in the crawl space on the roof .
Man , I had quite a situation back then.
I vividly remember that I would hear small foot steps on the roof as if some kind small rodent was scuttling across the top roof at nights.
For the first night or two ,I was cool about it thinking some squirrels are using my roof to reach to the fruit tree situated on the street right by my house.I figured to let this happy coexistence between me and cute squirrels continues. But , it never stopped. Every single night, I woke up to the noise coming from the roof. So , one day I said ” Enough is enough”
And, I decided to do sth about it.
One night , i made my self a big pot of coffee and I stayed up to teach squirrels one lesson or two. It was well into the night that I heard the noise started.
I run out The minute I hear the noise. There is no creature on the the roof . I come back inside and I hear the noise, man , it was creepy. I almost wet my pants.
I flash outside again to recheck the roof that I ,all of sudden, find my self with this ferocious looking raccoon who was coming at me. I jumped back down and luck myself in the house. As you know, rodents become very aggressive when they nest some place and start a family. They become very protective of their children,for that they become very savage , vicious creatures. However, fearing of my life , the first thing I did early in the morning was call animal
Control to help me get them out of the premises. Two days after , they came in and smoked the animal
Out. Can u imagine , two days after. Stupid animal control. The minute animal control people knocked on my door , I opened the door and Said: Jeeze, thanks for the prompt response. What is the rush!?
thank you for your article. I have a douther which is 5. she love animals very much. i am sure that childeren are same as my douther. why we are kind with animals when we are child but we change when we grow up?
You make me laughf Tania, may be going to be more old I am going to feel like a child or as Cuca said I have
been a child always.
Something of the two subjects are possoble.
Now Cuca said she is repentant of not letting have a cat or a dog to her/mine daughters when she were children.
By those time my wife didn´t like to have animals at home, she said that she preferred children.
I liked children and pets, but I was not going to take care of the cats or dogs, have to go out the flat to
All the best to you Tania and let you daughter have a dog or a cat….they are good friends to children.
Lot of people said they don´t like cats, (Jeff) that cats are different from dogs, that cats are shelfish and always they go as their shelfish rules, that you call them and they don´t come, they are always in the best place of the house sleeping.
Usually the best place it is just yours and the cat await to the last moment to get up from it if you want to sit on your armchair or your sit on the couch.
That´s true because cats are really clever and they know where is the best site of the house to be on.
To mine, Gatufo, the best site of the house use to be on my lap or Cuca´s lap if I am not at his sight.
All the house is empty, full of good sites, but to him my lap it is the best site to be on.
So, why could I think he is shelfish?
By all means, Gatufo is NOT shelfish, not any cat is shelfish. They are smart and independent and they like to choose his site to be on, also the person the cat loves more.
Not all are the same for them in a house. Of course, humans are like cats, we have also preferences.
They say cats are independent animals and these persons don´t want to have anything with cats.
I don´t really understand these feelings.
I always like cats. I can´t explain this feeling but always I feel a deep admiration for these animals, I was fascinated by them, may be just for these charasteristics. They do what they like to do.
But they are generous nice animals who gives love always.
Cats are gorgeous, agile, quiet but quick as lightning when they want, they are asleep in a second or awake in a second too. Incredible.
I always wanted to have a cat at home, but it was not possible as my dear Cuca did not like them, she likes children instead.
At least she said that to me when I asked her for one…..but the same for a dog.
With three children I always thought it was more than enoughf for her, my dear wife, and me being out of home it would be her responsability to look after the cat/dog and the children….too much work.
Today at last I have a CAT, his name is GATUFO, and he is the most tender, kind,quiet and affectionate living creature that no one can imagine.
He is a friend.
It was funny as Cuca that hasn´t a good opinion of Cats now has changed her mind absolutely.
She likes and love Gatufo the same way I do.
Life it is so, till the moment we are not in the situation we can´t know what will be our feelings
about lot of things.
Frequently I would change by Gatufo, my dear friend at home.
He has not any idea about echonomy, sickness, or even he try to hide his illness and it is difficult to know how is he.
Always he is in good disposition to play and spend his time as much better as possible. He is
happy, don´t think about tomorrow, if he will have food, or a place to go, where he can sleep,
and so forth.
Cat, dogs, animals are so different from us.
Yes, by all means I do think he is much more happy than me, than us humans.
It would be a nice idea to change our roles from time to time. Gatufo being emiliano ….and emiliano being Gatufo…..nice idea.
Just now emiliano would be sleeping on the lap of Gatufo (being emiliano) and he Gatufo
should be writing here in this BLOG…..fascinating.
I am going to think that, so go ahead Gatufo …..it is your turn to write here.
Greetings…..from Gatufo just now, before and for the future.
He is smart…nice and clever, and likes to be
read by YOU.
Unfortunately, we don’t. Have never seen any animal in our city. Maybe they feel that there are a lot of cruel people here. Anyway, thank you for the wonderful article, Warren. I love animals and want more people to love them too.
Taher, I think that people who really loved animals in their childhood, love them even when they become adults.
Peace Pigeons.- In some cities in Spain they harboring astonishing old and historical buildings which are costly to curate and keep but worth for cultural tourism purposes. These monuments are the homes on high for these and others birds. The only problem seems to be that their homes have no toilets at all. The eschatological output of the birds when it degenerates it turns to be a real chemical attack to stone’s structure and consistency. The birds’ defecations according to building and lab experts, contain some substances that are corrosive and severely threat specially some pending structural elements of the buildings with a lot of risk involved for people visiting them. Not to say that same reports attribute pigeons as to be poultry disease carriers because of the unhealthy feeding habits they have. That all resulting in that beautiful birds have become fowl-plague, and in this time of recession and budget cuttings, local authorities responsible for its maintenance have realize that cost to repair is far higher than cost to gradually eliminate them to downsize its populations and to keep them out of those buildings. Pigeons in spite of the fact that they have traditionally enjoyed a special status since Noe’s times are now facing this war. The collateral effect of the war against pigeons is that little sparrows have found some relieve in the middle. Sparrows prefer trees to home rather than buildings and because the over population of the pigeons, these had become sort of bullying against the sparrows who had to fight against them for the food in clear inferiority and sometimes suffering aggressions from the pigeons. An exagerated term has been used to refer to pigeons as urban winged rats.
Hi Hilario how are you doing?
When you say ” eschatological output” you mean S#IT. Right?
Hi Dan, I’m fine, thanks for reading and quoting, and yes, you’re quite right. It’s a word of greek root to express a concept of the ulterior part of a process. Here it means the part of physiology with regard to the study of excrements.