Saturday, August 22, 2015

Secrets of the species that thrive in the big city

Langur at Gangaramaya (Vihara) Buddhist Temple (from TripAdvisor)
Some species have adapted to city life and made their home in the city.

Foxes, Badgers in London, and Red Tailed Hawks, Ospreys, Racoons in New York City are examples.

In Sri Lanka I think there are more snakes (per sq meter) in suburban Colombo compared to say the Dry Zone.  There troops of moneys (Langur including Purple Faced and Macaque ) now in Aturugiriya, Gangaramaya, Battaramulla and Kotte.   We in WilpattuHouse have troop nearby around the Nelum Wewa, but thats bordering the Wilpattu National Park.

So why are some animals able to adapt to city life.

From the BBC
Omnivorous and have adapted their foraging behaviours to be able to exploit more anthropogenic food sources. Generalists so they are better able to cope with change than other animals that are specialised to specific habitats.

What underlies this adaptability? There's probably no single answer, but research on birds suggests it helps to be smart.

Records of 82 common bird species that occur in and around 12 cities in France and Sweden. Those with larger brains, relative to their bodies, were more likely to successfully breed in cities. These successful brainiacs included tits, crows and wrens.
(Note: In Sri Lanka the Jungle Crow is larger than the Urban Crows. Maybe brian size similar, but city crow will have larger brain to body ratio because the city crrow is smaller). Also see Birdwatching in an Urban (Sri Lanka) Environment is Possible
In line with that, there is evidence that urbanisation is driving increases in brain size. A 2013 study showed that white-footed mice and meadow voles from cities had greater cranial capacities than their country cousins. From BBC via Naked Capitalism

Monday, August 17, 2015


Elisabeth and Edwige were French cyclist (via Mayotte) who stayed at our place.  They have cycled through, Pakistan, Nepal and I think Tibet among other places.  Just cant imagine cycling through such high mountains.

Jess and Aivis from Guernsey were also visitors planning to cycle round the Island. 

Visitor Photos: Leopard

Elisabetta and Paul got some great leopard photos.