Creating Animal Habitats

Animals need as much habitat as they can get to be successful. Usually all you hear about is people destroying habitat. You rarely hear about people making new animal habitats. The truth is it doesn't happen very often and when it does, it is usually by accident. What a great accident!

One unexpected kind of animal habitat that we have created are in landfills and garbage dumps. They may be gross, but they provide food and shelter for many mammals, birds, and insects. It is thought that the grizzly bears in Yellowstone Park would have gone extinct if it hadn't been for the garbage dumps there in the 1950s–60s. The same goes for sewers and subway systems, cow barns, agricultural fields, and orchards. Many man-made places provide alternate habitats to adaptive animals.

On a more pleasant note, flower gardens also create habitat for nectar-feeding animals like butterflies and hummingbirds. Vegetable gardens can house slugs, snails, snakes, rabbits, and beetles. One thing is for sure, humans do affect habitats with our presence.

Welcome to the Bat Cave

Another example of humans creating a habitat happened in upstate New York. In that region there are very few natural caves, so the one animal that needs cave habitat to survive the winter — bats — were never very numerous in the state. Then in the late 1800s people started mining for ore in the Adirondack Mountains, in upstate New York. For many years, men dug miles and miles of underground mines and extracted ore. When the mining ended, they left miles of what were essentially — caves. In the last century, seven species of bats have made a foothold in upstate New York. All of them are small, insect-eating bats. The old mines act as perfect winter hibernation caves. The air temperature stays at about 50 degrees all winter so the bats can sleep safely and emerge in the spring to hunt for insects. The Adirondacks can be very buggy in the spring. The advantage for the people near the bat caves is that these bats can eat up to 500 mosquitoes an hour!

One Piece at a Time

Protecting the earth from pollution can seem like a job that is too big. But if each person starts to do just one or two things to help out, soon the problem will be much smaller! Break the Letter Shift Code (A=B, B=C, C=D, etc.) to learn an important thought to keep in mind!

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