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By: Robert Dotson

Many animal species live and thrive in the city of Chicago. They can be found everywhere from the subway to the Chicago River to the suburbs to the downtown area. Before the city was even built, the land of the entire state was grassy and flat enough for a wide variety of animals and climates to create a perfect spot for animals to not only survive but to thrive in this city. Most of the large predators of the area such as feral pigs and alligators have of course been driven out by the growth of the city. Other animals have been able to live outside the city or around certain parts such as the Chicago River. The growth of the city has left only small animals and creatures that have learned to survive in the city to live in it.

According to the Chicago Animal control the most common animals that they often deal with are: raccoons, squirrels, opossums, snakes, rats, mice, several bird species, and bats. Most of these animals have made their home in Chicago in their own respective ways such as breaking into homes or living off of trash and pet food to survive.

 

Raccoons, these furry trash pandas are commonly seen raiding trash cans and stealing food from people’s pets and are often found in attics and chimeneas that they use as shelters. Squirrels are often seen as the pests of the city and can be found all over the city running from one place to another. Biting through wood, electric cables and sneak into people’s attics to live in. Opossums are the nighttime animals that give raccoons a run for their money stealing food from trash cans.  Several snake species like the river garter snake are common and can be found on backyards or underneath houses, they do not usually harm humans but giving them space is highly advised. Bats are another one of the creatures that can be found in people attics and are common for people to see. There are also several different species of birds like seagulls and black-capped chickadees that can be seen throughout the city flying through the city skies.

All of these animals are natural to this region of the country and have learned to survive in the new urban environment. Since the area in which the state is located is home to mild and extreme weathers it is understandable that there would be a wide variety of animals living close to the urban areas looking for a new place to live. Good shelter and food being left out in the trash are the best things that a wild animal can find in a city. In a way when these animals made their home in Chicago they became part of the city’s culture. And as much as they appear to be, no. Chicago Cubs fans are not considered part of the wildlife living in Chicago or the city’s surrounding areas.


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