Have You ever wondered why you rarely see any wild animals when you go to the mountains and then when you are driving back home, you almost hit a deer? Or how we see coyotes walk down our streets and turkeys standing in the middle of the road. This is the result of the overpopulation of wild animals living in the suburbs. Wildlife living in suburbia has become an arising problem and many people do not know how it started and why they even choose to live along side us.
In my report, I will address the reasons and underlying causes for the existence of wildlife in suburbia and what their impact is on the communities that they inhabit.
Humans and animals have coexisted together for thousands of years and not until the last 300 years have we began to address their presence as a problem. The animals have always been here and when humans came and built towns and cities, the animals were pushed father out away from their original habitat.
According to The U. S. Bureau of Land Management, roughly 72 percent of all America is either inhabited by humans or farmland. This means that only 38 percent of the United States is uninhabited or wilderness. This lack of natural habitat is one reason why wild animals are more common in our suburbs today.
2. Wild animals however are not forced to live in the suburbs, they actually choose to do so because of the opportunities it offers. Living alongside humans is more beneficial to the animals and is a much easier way to survive rather than living in the wild. The population of wild animals living alongside humans thrives because of the opportunities it offers to sustain a a thriving population. The food source is the biggest reason these animals choose to live here. Unlike in the wild, animals would usually compete for food sources.
Any type of animal could survive in the suburbs because of the diverse food sources that it offers. The amount of domesticated pets that live in the suburbs is what the carnivores like the coyote thrive on. Omnivores like the raccoon survive on garbage and fruits dropped by trees. Herbivores like the deer feed mostly on gardens that people plant and the surplus of plant buds from peoples bushes and trees. Since the main predators of most animals try to avoid human contact like the mountain lion, living alongside humans offers protection to prey animals.
Having no natural predators makes a kind of safe haven for these animals to exist. Living in the suburbs is like a safe haven to a wild animal because of the available food sources and freedom from main predators. Structures that humans have made also provide shelter for the animals. Raccoons and skunks mostly inhabit storm drains, basements, attics, and any other structure that they can get into. Deer and coyotes tend to go wherever they can hide, mostly in brush or other natural enclosures. Suburbs with an open space or a natural 3. habitat like a forrest near them experience a higher population of wild animals.
This is because the animals can live in the open areas but come into the cities for food and protection. More skittish animals like deer and coyotes prefer to live in the wild and feed in the suburbs. Therefore you see a higher population of those animals in suburbs near open spaces rather than raccoons and skunks which can live either in suburbia or the wild. The opportunities that present themselves to these animals is to be blamed solely on the human population. People can easily prevent animals from entering the suburbs if everyone tried to keep them out.
Most people do not respect that the animals themselves are WILD and should be treated as such. People unintentionally feed them by leaving out cat and dog food for their pets to eat at night. Scavengers and carnivores alike take this as a free and easy meal and return nightly as long as food is provided for them. Trash cans and compost are also food sources that animals seek out and thrive on. Human garbage is unhealthy for all animals because of the fat content and can actually kill them. Animals that live in the suburbs are not as healthy as their truly wild counterparts mainly because of their diet and health.
Animals living in close contact with humans and eating their food can give them diseases. 4. Humans can easily do simple renovations to their lives to help keep the wild animals truly wild. By not feeding them with pet food and making sure garbage cans are scavenger proof, the animals will not return if there is no more food to support them. Enclosing your property with a fence can greatly reduce which animals come onto your property looking for food and shelter. Repairing holes in structures as well can greatly reduce the places where these animals can find shelter.
Wild animals are wild and have proved that they are dangerous if put into a defensive situation. You cannot predict what a wild animal will do if it is frightened. Feeding the animals and trying to domesticate them will only hurt the future of their species by making them more human dependent and losing there skills to survive in the wild. Wild animals are opportunists and will live wherever the best resources are for food, shelter, and safety. An animal that mainly relies on the suburbs for safety is the deer. Deer are very skittish animals and are easily frightened.
Deer are skittish because they are a prey animal that many predators like the mountain lion and wolf rely on for food. Since big predators like the mountain lion do not like human presence, they generally stay away from cities and large towns. This is the reason why deer flock to the suburbs so they reduce their chances of becoming prey by a lot. Other than protection, deer also flock to the suburbs for a diverse variety of food sources. In the wild, food that deer can eat is tree and bush buds and several types of grasses.
This lack of food variety in the wild does not 5.stimulate growth in the population. However, the amount of various grasses and an abundance of bush and tree buds in the gardens of the suburbs serve as a kind of buffet for the deer. This abundance stimulates growth of the deer and the amount of offspring produced. Shelter is also a main priority that all wild animals need to survive. Wild animals can easily find shelter in the suburbs because of all of the structures that serve as homes for them. An animal that almost relies completely on the suburbs for shelter is the raccoon. This animal is a master at finding places to hide and make a home for itself.
Other scavengers and omnivores rely on the suburbs for shelter, like the skunk and opossum. Raccoons prefer to live in smaller spaces so they can be hidden from potential predators likes wolves and mountain lions. These predators rarely are eaten or taken by surprise by a predator because they are very alert and timid at all times. During the daytime, raccoons and other scavengers reside under structures that they can squeeze into and they are also known to live in drainpipes and in trees. Other than shelter, raccoons and scavengers choose to flock to the suburbs for another apparent reason.
Raccoons feed on garbage that can be easily reached by a pack of raccoons. Raccoons also eat fruit that has dropped from trees in peoples back yards along with 6. garden plants such as vegetables. Raccoons will dig up lawns looking for insect larvae such as grubs. Raccoons are the ultimate scavengers and you see them everywhere from the big cities, to the small suburbs, to the wide open wild areas. Raccoons are the ultimate opportunists and are able to survive in almost any condition possible. Wild animals choose to live in the suburbs for many underlying reasons such as shelter and protection.
The third and final main reason for the overpopulation of wild animals in the suburbs is due to the abundance of food. Not only is there a large difference from food sources that are available in the wild versus the amount of food located in the suburbs is the ease of locating and relying on a stable food source. The animals living in the suburbs o not have to compete for scarce food sources like in the wild. The animals are able to find food almost anywhere without competition. An animal that has advantage to living in or near the suburbs rather than its wild counterpart is the coyote.
Coyotes usually tend to live outside the areas where humans live because they are easily frightened by humans. The coyote choses to feed in the suburbs because of the lack of competition and the abundance of food. Coyotes are omnivores meaning that they are both carnivores and herbivores alike. Coyotes also scavenge and will eat roadkill or even garden vegetables and fruits. The coyote is known to be a big pest among homeowners with animals and people who walk their animals in open areas where coyotes tend to reside. Coyotes are the main culprit for eating house pets and luring unleashed dogs away to their gloomy fate.