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To think wildlife is becoming desensitised to humans and it's worrying

(29 Posts)
HateSummer Tue 16-Aug-16 10:53:25

At our local park squirrels come right up to you and take bits of food. At work little robins, blackbirds and other birds (don't know their names) come right up to my feet and take bits of fallen crumbs. They don't even flinch when I move.

I don't remember it ever being like this. Birds would fly away and squirrels would run away. Isn't this weird? What will happen when wildlife isn't scared of humans? It's a bit odd to me.

(Disclaimer: I'm not a Disney princess)

bearleftmonkeyright Tue 16-Aug-16 10:59:38

I was thinking about this earlier. To get go my nearest town I have to go down a cycle path which is right next to a really busy noisy dual carriageway. The wildlife there is amazing, there are loads of butterflies right next to this roaring, stinking road. I wonder what this is doing to the animals senses. It is just so loud. I saw a dead owl there once and guessed it has been injured by traffic.

OhSoggyBiscuit Tue 16-Aug-16 11:31:55

Foxes too. Bold as brass, walking down the road, one stops, stares at me a bit then runs off.

HateSummer Tue 16-Aug-16 12:51:33

Yes definitely foxes! How did I forget? We have one on our road that walks about like it is a domestic cat...

When I was younger the closest I got to a wild animal was looking through the backroom window.

Is this due to overpopulation? Will animals one day lose their instinctive fear from us?

HateSummer Tue 16-Aug-16 15:48:42

So no one cares that many wild animals aren't afraid of humans anymore?

StarryIllusion Tue 16-Aug-16 17:28:35

I don't think it is that no one cares but what would you propose doing about it? I'm certainly not up for randomly scaring the shit out of them just so that they remain wary of us. There is a squirrel at our local cemetery who will come right up to people sitting on the benches and will even sit on your lap if you feed him. Well, it could be several squirrels... I like to think it's the same one but really, I can't tell them apart. They seem to have kept a healthy respect for cars though and have so far not come to any harm.

sonjadog Tue 16-Aug-16 17:30:18

I think that is just where you live. I don´t think it is a general trend across the world. Certainly the wildlife around here is most definitely wild.

Mumble29 Tue 16-Aug-16 17:31:55

If they came in and done my housework for me I wouldn't mind....

OreosAreTasty Tue 16-Aug-16 17:34:14

Still skittish here. South Wales.

GerundTheBehemoth Tue 16-Aug-16 17:35:34

This will happen anywhere where there are a lot of people who aren't persecuting the wildlife (and especially if they are feeding the wildlife!). The grey herons round where I live are really timid, but you can walk right up to the ones in Regent's Park and practically pat them on the head. Not a problem unless you're talking large, potentially dangerous animals trying to mug humans for food, as can happen in some parts of the world.

Stevefromstevenage Tue 16-Aug-16 17:38:03

Starry 😂😂😂

SisterMoonshine Tue 16-Aug-16 17:40:58

As we take over more and more of their habitats, it is the animals who can survive successfully alongside humans who do best and are more likely to reproduce - so it perpetuates. There are adult deer now who haven't list their juvenile white spots - it's thought that is because they are more endearing to us, like Bambi, so again survive best.

GerundTheBehemoth Tue 16-Aug-16 17:52:26

SisterMoonshine - have you any links about this? I'm intrigued - presume you are talking about deer species like red and roe that are not normally spotted in adult pelage? (Adult fallow and sika are spotty in summer, presumably for camouflage in dappled light.)

SisterMoonshine Tue 16-Aug-16 17:55:13

It was talked about on a Cracked podcast not so long ago. I wish I could remember the actual title or date, but I'll see if I can find it.

GerundTheBehemoth Tue 16-Aug-16 18:00:10

Thank you smile Have had a bit of a google but not come up with anything.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Tue 16-Aug-16 18:03:29

Robins have always been cheeky - haven't you read The Secret Garden?
In places where there are bears, I have heard that they are less scared of humans than they used to be because the humans they encounter are more likely to be hikers who give them a wide berth than hunters who will shoot them, but I am not convinced this is a bad thing per se.

GerundTheBehemoth Tue 16-Aug-16 18:07:56

Robins have long had the habit of following wild boars around in the forests, ready to pounce on insects that the boars disturb as they forage. Now they follow gardeners around for the same reason - they've just swapped one big lumbering mammal for another :D

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Tue 16-Aug-16 18:11:16

How interesting, Gerund!

LikeDylanInTheMovies Tue 16-Aug-16 18:16:09

So no one cares that many wild animals aren't afraid of humans anymore?

I can't say it keeps me awake at night.

SisterMoonshine Tue 16-Aug-16 18:16:56

Oh I thought the robins were just being curious. They do actually follow you about.

Bassetfeet Tue 16-Aug-16 18:18:12

You have spotted me lumbering around haven't you Gerund ? grin
Wish there was wildlife around here . The decline is staggering and scary .
No more foxes,hedgehogs ,bees or butterflies compared to a year or so ago. Bird numbers shockingly low .
Interesting about the deer .

KC225 Tue 16-Aug-16 19:44:56

I used to live on a dog rough South London Estate, the squirrels there were super bold and enormous. They would go down the communal bins and scare the life out of the residents. Even the local staffs wouldn't touch them. You'd see them outside the chippy holding a fat chip between their tiny squirrel paws chomping happily.

I remember saying at the time, I give it five generations before those squirrels will be walking upright, wearing slogan t.shirts and belts with a massive bunch of keys attached. Leaning over cars (furry Dagenham cleavage showing) saying 'It'll be ya starter motor love.'

oldlaundbooth Tue 16-Aug-16 19:51:11

'(Disclaimer: I'm not a Disney princess)'

Ha! grin

I have nothing constructive to add, sorry.

AudreyBradshaw Tue 16-Aug-16 20:11:23

We've got a chopsy as fuck blackbird that squares up to the dog. He is named Billy Big Bollocks it may be a girl blackbird, i dont know Dog doesn't even try and chase it anymore as she knows she'll end up looking the dick. And a hedgehog that I thought was one of those ornaments until it moved and I nearly shit myself. And a HUGE dragonfly was sat on the washing line yesterday, it sounded like a zeppelin taking off. I squealed and ran away.

The wildlife is definitely in charge of our back garden. Which I suppose goes towards your theory that it's desensitised to humans.

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 16-Aug-16 20:17:40

I don't think it is that new. I think it's that there is more urban wildlife, so people who aren't used to animals perhaps see more?

In addition to the Secret Garden, think of Keeping Henry (a squirrel) or Tarka the Otter, or Kes, or anything by Alison Uttley or Beatrix Potter - all based in part or whole on real-life experiences of wild animals that were either tame, or very unafraid of humans.

Where I grew up, there were wild animals and you could get quite close, and that was a commuter village even though it was entirely surrounded by farms. Foxes were quite shy because, back then, there was an active hunt. But other 'wild' animals were no more or less wild than the farm cats, which wouldn't let you get near either.

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