You are here: Life > Ecosystems > Cities and farmland

Cities and farmland

A rat in a city street All animals share the planet with human beings, many suffering the consequences. Some, however, have learned to live in habitats that humans have created, such as cities, suburban gardens or farmland. They have adapted their lifestyles to suit this new environment, and, in many cases, have thrived in them. Not all these animals are welcome, however. Some have become pests and are responsible for spreading diseases or the destruction of crops. Even animals that have been deliberately introduced by humans to new environments have sometimes created problems.



Feral pigeons on the Pont des Arts, Paris. Feral pigeons, so familiar in many major towns and cities, are descended from escaped...Read More >>Feral pigeons on the Pont des Arts, Paris. Feral pigeons, so familiar in many major towns and cities, are descended from escaped domestic pigeons. These in turn evolved from the rock dove. Pigeons roost on rooftops, and have adapted their diet to include scraps and pieces of bread thrown to them by people.

Animal life in the city

Birds use roofs, gutters and chimney pots as roosting and nesting sites, instead of cliffs and trees. Bats gather in warm attics or empty buildings instead of caves and holes. The warm air given off from houses, offices and factories draws flocks of birds into towns and cities on winter evenings. Many people enjoy seeing birds, and some put out food to help them through the coldest periods. However, birds and people also come into conflict. Flocks of birds are a hazard at airports, where they can be sucked into aircraft engines, causing damage. 

Many species of bird, such as great tits, live in both urban and rural areas. The urban birds sing at a higher pitch than those that live in the countryside—enabling their songs to stand out above the traffic noise.

Q-files now has new sections specially written for younger readers. They are: Living world, Earth, Science, Human body, Prehistoric life, Space, History, Geography and Technology.


Find the answer