Wild City: 15 Examples of Unexpected Urban Wildlife

(images via asu, daily mail and science daily)

Some animals do not seem out of place within city limits.  Pigeons, squirrels, and rodents are as much a part of the urban landscape as cement and streetlights.  For most non-human creatures, however, city life is not a good fit.  Or at least, that’s how it seems.  These animals, whether they were invited, invading, or simply curious, have found their way, unexpectedly, into urban areas:


(image via Blog in Bangkok)

It is not uncommon for elephants to be used as laborers in places like India and Southeast Asia.  But it is still unreal to see these gigantic creatures strolling down the street in urban Bangkok.  Some pachyderms are used for labor, but others, sometimes heavily sedated, act as tourist attractions.


(image via spacingmontreal)

Coyotes are becoming common in suburban areas and cities located at northern latitudes.  They usually do no more than cause a general uneasiness among residents, but occasionally attack dogs and other domesticated animals.  Some studies have shown that these canines are adapting quite well to urban life.

Giant Moth

(image via Raw Fish)

The Granny’s Cloak Moth is as much at home in suburban Australian homes as it is in the woods.  Though its 8-10 cm wingspan pales in comparison to the foot-long Atlas Moth, it is still the largest flying creature your likely to find in your closet.  When viewed up close, the moth’s colorful but subtle patterns are visible.


(images via red bubble, miamibeach411, and Raw Fish)

As South Florida’s urban sprawl continues, there are more and more meetings between people and alligators.  Though these toothy reptiles are not as predatory towards humans as popular lore would have us believe, it is nonetheless unsettling to come face to face with a larger specimen of the species in your own back yard.

Other reptiles, like the long-necked turtle or blue-tongued lizard are not as frightening as gators, but most definitely unusual.


(image via Science Daily)

Perhaps it is a testament to monkeys’ intelligence that they are able to thrive in urban environments, especially in the island nation of Indonesia.  Some of these creatures can be quite aggressive when it comes to begging for food and there are concerns about them carrying contagious diseases.


(image via alaska-in-pictures)

Alaska’s moose population is at odds with the urban sprawl in Anchorage and Fairbanks.  Suburban moose sightings are quite common, especially when heavy snowfall occurs.  These sedate animals are not threatening, but their size and the fact that they often cross roads make them a danger for drivers.

Urban Amphibians

(images via 3rivieres, flickzzz, and environment.gov.au)

Gigantic sea turtles come to the Lesser Antilles nation of Dominica to lay their eggs.  They do not prefer remote patches of sand, but choose, instead, to lay their eggs on the beaches of the capitol city of Rosalie.  Dominica has laws to protect the turtles.

One of the most bizarre meetings of people and nature occurs on Christmas Island when millions of red crabs make their way across the island to the sea.  This migration creates a carpet of clawed creatures across roads and in back yards.


(image via cool things in random places)

The world’s largest colony of urban bats is right here in the United States.  The Congress Street Bridge in Austin is home to 1.5 million Mexican Free-tail bats.  Aside from SXSW, these are the biggest attraction in the city, drawing 100,000 visitors per year.


(image via treehugger)

Whale beaching occur more frequently than people think.  The whales beached themselves in Western Australia recently came ashore in a remote part of the country.  However, the 20 foot whale that tried to beach itself in Rockaway Beach on Long Island showed that the world’s largest mammals are not afraid of people.

Other Unexpected Animals

(images via take part, declubz, and blog.newsweek.com)

Goats are not necessarily wild animals, but they are a rare sight in downtown Los Angeles.  A herd of the horned creatures were used to clear the ground of grass at a future construction site.

Bears are drawn to garbage, but, occasionally, get stuck in places that they can’t escape from (like the dumpster above).

A London-based artist named Slinkachu is working on an ongoing project called Inner City Snails where the shells of the slow-moving creatures are used as a tiny canvas for traditional graffiti art.

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