Urban Pests: Synanthropic Animals and How to Control Them

Everypest control service provider should know one special word that perfectly describes city pests: synanthrope. A synanthropic species is one that previously lived in a wild environment but now thrives in urban areas. Unlike the vast majority of animal species, synanthropic animals actually benefit from human-made environments.
The following is a look at why urban pests such as raccoons, mice, rats and pigeons thrive in our cities. It also suggests Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as an effective method of controlling the urban pest populations around your home. All animals (including humans) need food, shelter and water to survive. Our cities provide these bare necessities, along with a few more advantageous circumstances for synanthropes, as described below.
Few or No Predators
Urban pests enjoy a huge advantage over their country cousins: There are almost no predators in city environments. Peregrine falcons are one of the few predators that actually thrive in cities; scientists think peregrine falcons become more nocturnal in cities, where they use streetlights to stalk their prey.
One would think that humans could be considered major predators for these pests, but some cities actually prosecute killers of raccoons and other synanthropes for animal abuse. For example, last month a Toronto resident was arrested and charged with animal cruelty for hitting a baby raccoon in his back yard with a shovel. (Pest control companies can generally rid your home of urban pests without you having to worry about being prosecuted for animal cruelty.) Even with shovel-wielding humans about, urban pests can breed more freely than they would in the wild.
Plenty of Food
Your trash is a synanthrope’s treasure. Although you might think Carrie Brownstein’s performance on “Portlandia” makes her the queen of dumpster divers, urban pests have her beat. Many of them survive on human refuse 365 days a year. Some urban pests, such as pigeons, even receive handouts from humans. In general, urban pests don’t have to work very hard to have their food requirements met in big cities.
Pest control experts who practice Integrated Pest Management understand how different pest species eat; they can use this knowledge to help you get rid of pesky pigeons, rodents and insects.
Excellent Does Paint Thinner Kill Bed Bugs Shelter
Think your home is cozy, comfortable and charming? Urban pests agree. Many synanthropes use buildings for shelter – some are even totally reliant on human construction for nesting grounds. Gulls see tall buildings as cliff-sided islands. Pigeons can roost on narrow shelves on the sides of buildings, or in storm drains. House sparrows are experts at building homes under roof eaves. Human construction gives urban pests plenty of places to raise their young.
Integrated Pest Management experts understand pests’ shelter needs; pest control service providers who use IPM practices can tell you how to alter your home to make it less attractive for nesting urban pests.
Big Brains
Biologists have noticed that many of the species that succeed in urban environments have large brains. Bigger brains allow these animals to quickly adapt to the circumstances they find in the city. Some homeowners even wonder if their anti-pest measures are causing raccoons and other urban pests to get smarter about things like how to break into garbage cans. Many of these big-brained animals succeed in the city because they are generalists. Coyotes, for instance, can survive in a wide variety of environments because they are able to change their behavior according to what they find in cities.
Pest control professionals should understand the pests they deal with from the inside out. Your pest control service rep should even be able to “think” like a rat or a mouse, for instance, in order to spot places where these rodents could enter your home.
Synanthropic Adaptations
Some animals just got lucky in the evolutionary draw and naturally have characteristics that prepare them for city life. For example, pigeons originate from the deserts of the Middle East. Their feet are perfectly adapted for walking on hot desert sand – and for strolling hot city streets.
Other animals have changed their behavior to take advantage of the urban environment. For instance, more and more Canadian geese are learning Housework In 2 Hours that they save energy for breeding by staying at golf courses and city parks year-round, rather than migrating with the seasons.
Upon first seeing a raccoon or opossum in the city, one’s response may be delight at having a wild animal in such close proximity. However, it’s best to rid your property of synanthropes, no matter how cute they may initially seem. Urban pests can carry nasty diseases like rabies or even the plague. Furthermore, urban pests can cause permanent damage to a home if they find a way into your attic, crawl space or basement. Finally, some of these pests are so annoying that it’s nearly impossible to live with them. (Bed bugs come to mind).
If you see urban pests around your home, it’s best to seek help from a pest control company. Pest control service professionals can employ an earth-friendly Integrated Pest Management approach to get rid of raccoons, sparrows, bed bugs and other urban pests without using toxic chemicals that may harm your family or pets.