Which would you rather eat: a tasty Angus Burger from McDonalds or a wild rabbit that you caught and killed yourself? Personally, I’d go for the McDonalds burger, and evidently, so does urban wildlife.
A new study shows that foxes, raccoons, and opossums now prefer to scavenge leftovers that they find in fast food drive-thrus instead of hunting for mice, birds, and their other normal prey. The study says that this adoption of the urban American diet is due to increasing urbanization, which takes away the animals’ natural habitats and forces them to adjust their lifestyles to mesh with ours.
The study showed that foxes that live in cities have higher cholesterol levels and significantly higher carbon levels; high carbon levels indicate diets high in corn or corn syrup. Most processed foods in the USA are comprised of large amounts of corn and corn syrup. These animals also had lower nitrogen values than foxes that lived in nearby rural areas.
So which animals do you think have better chances at survival and higher reproduction rates? Surprisingly, it’s the urban foxes who chow on Taco Bell all day. However, this could be due to the fact that these city-dwelling foxes have fewer natural predators, not because of the foods they are eating.
by Kelsey Murray
January 3rd, 2011