Urban Death Traps

Walking home from our discussion about urban animals, something caught my eye at the bus stop just outside Science Drive 4. The glass display case for the routes of the buses was displaying something far more interesting: gecko corpses.  It appears that these little guys had fallen into the display case and probably died of dehydration or malnourishment.

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         Continuing my walk, I couldn’t help but wonder about all the various sorts of death traps there are in this city for wildlife. Roads are an obvious example of a death trap with the number of raccoons, squirrels and the occasional deer I spot on them back home but what else can end up killing an animal? Windows provoke birds to their death as they fly into them and plastic causes the death of thousands of animals that swallow it or get trapped in it. With a quick search, I found a couple lesser known examples of animal death in urban environments. For example, in Anjunem, India a series of canals and dams entice animals such as sambars and bisons as a source of drinking water. Ultimately this source of life kills them when they end up falling in and they can’t get out, ultimately drowning. Even in lesser urbanized areas such as farmer fields that have lower obvious touches of human influence, certain fencing can act as a vicious executioner to large running animals. This is seen with the Blackbuck and blade wire fencing. As Blackbuck are running, they often run directly into the fence, getting caught and ultimately injuring themselves to the point of death.

While the road kill may be the flag of animal deaths by urbanisation, there is indeed hidden traps all over that animals may not be able to avoid.




2 thoughts on “Urban Death Traps

  • March 29, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    This reminds me of a similar incident. Outside my house (I live in a HDB flat), there is a storage closet and I once opened the door and to my surprise, right there at the door’s hinges was a dead lizard that had been painted over, so its corpse was just stuck on the hinge, held by the paint. How on earth that happened, I have no idea (why didn’t the lizard crawl away??). The door has been painted over in a different colour now so the corpse is no longer there, or I could have taken a picture.

  • April 15, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    I LOVE this ! Worth talking about in lectures next year. Jamie, would you consider sending me these photos so we might use them in lecture next year ? We’d give you credit of course. I’ve never seen these anywhere, despite having seen lots of geckos hunting on the lit signs.


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