Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 5–12 | Cite as

Animal behavior in urban ecosystems: Modifications due to human-induced stress

  • Stephen S. DitchkoffEmail author
  • Sarah T. Saalfeld
  • Charles J. Gibson


Wildlife-human interactions are increasing in prevalence as urban sprawl continues to encroach into rural areas. Once considered to be unsuitable habitat for most wildlife species, urban/suburban areas now host an array of wildlife populations, many of which were previously restricted to rural or pristine habitats. The presence of some wildlife species in close proximity to dense human populations can create conflict, forcing resource managers to address issues relating to urban wildlife. However, evidence suggests that wildlife residing in urban areas may not exhibit the same life history traits as their rural counterparts because of adaptation to human-induced stresses. This creates difficulty for biologists or managers that must address problems associated with urban wildlife. Population control or mitigation efforts aimed at urban wildlife require detailed knowledge of the habits of wildlife populations in urban areas. This paper describes the history of wildlife in urban areas, provides examples of wildlife populations that have modified their behavior as an adaptation to urban stresses, and discusses the challenges that resource managers face when dealing with urban wildlife.


Behavioral changes Life history Microevolution Rural Suburban Urbanization Wildlife 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen S. Ditchkoff
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sarah T. Saalfeld
    • 1
  • Charles J. Gibson
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Forestry and Wildlife SciencesAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA

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