Ecology and behaviour of UK urban synanthropic mammals

  • Bryony Tolhurst (Presenter)

Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk


Whilst urbanisation is generally detrimental to biodiversity, some species adapt to urban environments to the extent that their population densities are higher in towns and cities than in rural or wilderness areas. Whilst many people report wellbeing enhancement as a consequence of close proximity to urban wildlife, others express concern over the presence of synanthropic species. These relate to nuisance factors, disease transmission risk, personal security or safety of companion animals. We are studying the ecology of three UK urban mammals within the carnivore/insectivore guild: red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), Eurasian badgers (Meles meles) and European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) in the context of human-wildlife conflict mitigation, animal welfare, and conservation. Our aims are to: better understand the distribution and abundance of these species in towns and cities; explore their apparent ability to coexist with each other (particularly with respect to intra-guild predation); determine the impact of widespread anthropogenic supplementary feeding on their behaviour and welfare; and elucidate their role in the epidemiology of veterinary and zoonotic diseases including sarcoptic mange (Sarcoptes scabiei), lungworm (Angiostrongylus vasorum), dog roundworm (Toxocara canis) and rabies (Lyssa virus spp). Recent findings and future direction are discussed, in the context of increasing urbanisation and climate change.
Period13 Jun 2019
Held atEcology, Conservation and Society Research and Enterprise Group
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Urban ecology