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Coronavirus: 15 stunning photos show how animals are reclaiming human spaces

“There's something very beautiful about nature never giving up and showing us that we're temporary in the scheme of things.”

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Growing reports of animals taking over paved plazas, city streets, and highway roads are popping up on Twitter and Reddit, showing wildlife taking advantage of having humans tucked away at home during the global pandemic.

New photos and video posted on Twitter recently show two deer strutting down the street in Boissy-Saint-Leger, a suburb of Paris, France.

And then there are the goats that stormed Llandudno, a town in Wales. The group of shaggy Great Orme Kashmiri goats noshed on the town's manicured hedges (they prefer juicy berries and steer clear of thorns) — and apparently, eventually required police intervention.

Among the animals actually entering human spaces, here have been a few fake-outs, too: No, dolphins are not now swimming in Venice's canals. But real examples are showing up all over the internet, and nowhere is this perhaps more clear than on Reddit.

The subreddit r/Reclaimedbynature is usually populated with posts of trees and vines overtaking abandoned buildings. But now, as coronavirus-induced isolation takes hold, it is alive with photos of animals all around the world trotting in and even taking a nap in places people usually dominate.

"With a lot of the world's population being instructed to remain indoors, we're seeing more and more animals braving human environments, places that would once have been theirs,” moderator Thom Jackson, u/Fire_bucket, tells Inverse. Jackson has overseen the subreddit for four years.

Recent posts feature “more examples of fauna reclamation, as opposed to flora,” Jackson says.

Shots of plants, animals, or Earth herself reclaim human-built structures are reminders of humans’ place in the natural world, he says.

“There's something very beautiful about nature never giving up,” Jackson says, “and showing us that we're temporary in the scheme of things.”

These 15 amazing photos of animals capitalizing on their human-less freedom certainly speak to that tenacity.

15. Mountain Lions, Boulder, Colorado

Seeing a rabbit or squirrel in your yard may not be unusual. But in Boulder, Colorado, residents have a new urban animal in town.

While humans are stuck inside watching Tiger King, real-life mountain lions are out roaming the neighborhood, as user u/clicktosave posted on Reddit:

Comments joked about “government issued mountain lions," alluding to the big cats being used to keep people inside.

But Netflix may be doing that job already.

14. Monkeys, Lopburi, Thailand

Usually full of humans, the empty streets of Lopburi, Thailand are overrun with macaque monkeys — and these guys are territorial.

In fact, the unchecked monkeys have formed “rival gangs,” between those from the city and those who live in the nearby temples, and have been sparring with one another in the streets, Daily Mail reported.

Apparently one nasty fight broke out over a banana. So cliche.

13. Silver fish, Venice, Italy

Without humans using and polluting the water, the canals in Venice, Italy, have become clear enough to see the wildlife swimming happily undisturbed below.

“Those who dare to leave their homes might even spot schools of silver fish swimming undisturbed in the calm waters,” reports Reuters in a video posted on Twitter:

“The water is definitely clearer,” one local resident told Reuters.

“You just have to look at the canal when water is very calm — there are no boats, there is no traffic. Definitely it is cleaner.”

12. Crabs, Venice, California

Along with fish, crabs are showing up in the clear waters of another Venice, this time in California.

Twitter user Jane Wurwand shared photos of crabs visible on the bottom of the canal:

“No traffic, flights, people or pollution. Is our planet slowly healing?” Wurwand writes.

“It’s something.”

11. Wild boars, Barcelona, Spain

Feral hogs have already gained popularity for storming people’s yards in the United States — and the recent viral javelina video shows how quickly these hog cousins can dash down a boulevard.

Now, with the typically bustling Barcelona empty, boars are taking to the streets.

“Boars descend from the mountains to the very center of Barcelona, after several days of people being locked at home,” writes Twitter user Alfons López Tena.

10. Deer, Eastern Ghats, India

When there are no dangerous cars around, any day is a good day for a trot down the road.

At least, the local deer in the Eastern Ghats, India, seem to think so.

This crew was spotted trotting down the road, as user u/readtheredthread posted on Reddit:

9. Leopards, India

While deer may be harmless (as long as you’re not a yummy root vegetable), there are other animals making their way into human-dominated places in India that are a little more concerning.

Leopards have been seen in Eastern Ghats, too:

This isn’t the first time leopards have been spotted in a nature-takeover moment.

Photographer Shaaz Jung took this stunning photo of a leopard perched on a temple in southern India:

8. Dinosaurs: New York City

This is a very real photo of a thing that’s definitely happening.

Average day in Central Park, NYC...


7. Wild turkeys, Boston, Massachusetts

Wild turkeys have all but taken over Boston, according to Twitter:

“Harvard belongs to the turkeys, now,” said Twitter user Faine Greenwood.

But the account Rogue Turkey claims that it’s always had a hold over the school:

We’re at the point where the incoming animals are self-advocating on Twitter, and things may never be the same.

6. Coyotes, San Francisco, California

Animals are acting like tourists now, too.

Posing in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, a coyote takes a rest.

As seen on Reddit:

Coyotes are not the most exotic of animals — as Redditor u/meggali points out: “Urban coyotes are a thing all over North America.” However, “you don't see them lying down on the job very often.”

Must be relaxing without hordes of humans flocking to get the best view in town.

5. Penguins, Chicago, Illinois (Shedd Aquarium)

With no humans around at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, staff decided to take some Emperor penguins on a field trip.

Penguins Edward, Annie, and Wellington had a chance to observe fish tanks and visit the information center, just like human guests.

The videos are as adorable as you’d expect:

4. Silka deer, Nara, Japan

Nara Park in Japan is famous for its friendly fauna, and is home to more than 1,200 wild sika deer.

The deer roam the park freely, interacting with humans — and accepting the food they offer.

With fewer humans out enjoying the park, the deer have taken to the streets, tweeted reporter Kurumi Mori:

Thankfully, to avoid any cars that are on the road, the deer are using the crosswalk.

Mori followed up her tweet with a video of the empty park — and some very persistent deer:

3. Wild turkeys, Oakland, California

When school’s out, it’s turkey time.

“That’s a first,” tweeted Charlotte Simmonds after spotting a raptor of turkeys on an elementary school playground.

The school had been closed for a few days, Simmonds tweeted.

Compared with wild turkeys’ already unsettling behavior — as shown in a 2017 video of turkeys circling a dead cat — this is actually pretty normal and chill.

2. Rhesus macaques, Delhi, India

Mischievous monkeys were already a common presence in Delhi, India.

Some estimates suggest 4,000-5,000 Rhesus Macaques live in the city, regularly snatching food and messing with members of parliament’s paperwork.

But now, in the emptiness of usually bustling places, even monkeys out and about seem to be in on a post-apocalyptic backdrop.

As editor Nistula Hebbar tweeted, this lone monkey has a real Will Smith in “I Am Legend” thing going on:

1. Dolphins, Cagliari, Italy

There may not have been any dolphins in the Venice canals, but the sleek swimmers graced another part of Italy with their presence.

Without cruise ships and ferries around, dolphins visited the docks of Port of Cagliari in Sardinia, Italy.

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