photo by 663highland (Wikimedia Commons)

Most of us associate wildlife with the countryside rather than with cities, unless you count cockroaches, rats and pigeons as wildlife (and why not, they are alive and not domesticated).

However, urban environments can be unlikely havens for certain species that thrive or at least hang on to tiny remnants of their original habitats.

Larger animals can pose complications, such as the exploding deer population in Washington, DC. And by exploding, I was referring to their numbers, not the actual deer. That would really be a problem.

Then there are the UK’s urban foxes – loved, hated or even feared – they’ve landed their own prime time TV show on Channel 4 called ‘Foxes Live: Wild in the City’. That’s right, a live reality show filming urban foxes in London and other cities. How typically British.

From This Is Gloucestershire:

Although it is hard to confirm population numbers, it is believed more than 33,000 foxes exist in urban areas, with a further 225,000 living on the countryside. Last year, 81 cubs and 17 adults were released from wildlife rescue centres.

Possibly due to all the parks, Londoners really fancy themselves a bit wild. A recent competition for building homes for London wildlife featured bird and bat boxes, planters and various ideas for urban beehives. Not terribly exciting, but laudable enough.

On the other end of the spectrum, a wildlife officer recently shot and killed a young 110-pound (50-kilo) cougar in a neighborhood in Seattle, Washington, USA. More exciting, but infinitely sadder.

Even the Japanese megalopolis of Tokyo has its share of urban wildlife, ranging from frogs and river turtles to raccoon dogs and palm civet cats. Read more about those in the Japan Times.

So next time you see an eagle killing a pigeon or a giant hare racing through a city park, remember that they are examples of urban wildlife, not freaks or invaders to be simply spurned, exterminated or uploaded on to YouTube. No more freakish than you are when you go camping in the forest or swimming in a mountain lake with your stupid Ed Hardy sunglasses.