Non-Human Mammals Love the Suburbs, Too

Early one April morning, a coyote crosses a suburban backyard. For some reason, she stops to take a look at the house beyond. It’s spacious, with two floors and a separate garage. There’s even a trampoline. Her ears prick up as she gazes. She seems to be considering a move. Such scenes go against our sense of things: two-legged creatures belong on lawns, four-legged ones in the untrammeled woods. But they aren’t as rare as you might expect. Recently, a group of researchers used camera traps to survey mammals in and around Raleigh, North Carolina and Washington, D.C., trying to get a sense of where they spend their time. As it turns out, the comforts of the suburbs aren’t lost on non-human creatures. "Indeed," the researchers write , "most species appear to use suburban areas at least as much as wild land." As human habitation takes up more and more space, ecologists strive to understand which creatures are able to adapt to our strange infrastructural habits, and which get displaced. " There have been a number of studies relatively recently on mammals in more suburban areas, and they show conflicting results," says Arielle Parsons, a doctoral student at North […]

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