From ‘guard cats’ to monkeys who store: our favourite urban animal tales

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More than two years after the launch of Guardian Cities, it seems high time for a round-up of all the animal-related stories that have kept us amused along the way. Heres our top 10 now tell us yours

Four feral cats, named after the original Ghostbusters, are being be used in a Chicago brewery to guard the grain from rats. In exchange, they are paid a daily rate in the only currency they understand: dry cat food.

As Medill Reports Chicago explains, the owners of the Empirical brewery in Chicago decided to employ these cats, rather than pest control companies, because they are both less costly and, to quote verbatim, adorable.

The programme is part of a wider strategy to release 3,500 feral cats to deal with Chicagos unaccountably virulent rat problem. Chicago is apparently the rattiest city in the US.

That same charity, Tree House, is also creating funds to build a cat house: a large apartment building in which 200 cats would live alongside a veterinarian and other feline-specific facilities. Naturally, Tree House has created a reality TV present to drum up cash for this initiative principally featuring cats behaving cattily towards each other.

Fur flies during the Real Tree House Cats of Chicago

If all this makes you think that Chicago is undergoing a kind of collective hallucination brought on by those parasites that supposedly live in cat litter and embed themselves into the brain stems of their hosts, to slowly change human behaviour over time in pro-cat routes, all we can observe is that its not just Chicago, or cats. Increasingly, wild animals are making their mark on urban environments in a host of new and inventive styles. Behold …

Pigeons with backpacks

In London, pigeons have been equipped with little knapsacks to measure air pollution. The ones over Victoria Park wear Fjallraven. No , not really.

Vultures with Go-Pros

Lima, Peru has a rubbish dumping problem so topographically dynamic that it actually needs to be mapped aerially. So what better animal to track garbage knolls from the skies ( caw !) than a vulture? Limas black vultures, or gallinazo , are also large enough to wear Go-Pro video cameras, and well-trained enough by Alfredo Correa at Limas Huachipa zoo to return with told cameras.

Rats who clean

This little guy became a viral sensation in 2015. He even earned a clever nickname: Pizza Rat. This, then, would be the trade-off Chicago has made by hiring all those cats: more pizza on the street.( And a skyrocketing avian slaying rate .)

The plot, however, thickened like the fat congealing on the slice. Last year was full of rat-related viral videos, such as the rat who took a selfie, the rat who opposed a pigeon and the rat who carried a donut through the metro. Wait a second that sounds suspiciously familiar to Pizza Rat, doesnt it? Well, Gothamist reports that Eric Yearwood, relevant actors, says he was paid $200 to star in Selfie Rat by an anonymous artist, casting doubt across the reliability of the entire rat-based internet video continuum. Was the whole thing an obscure art stunt? Dare we call the artist Ratsy? Animal internet narratives are a corridor of mirrors in which identity itself is but a kaleidoscope.

Monkeys who shop

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I come for the Malm but I stay for the bananas. Photo: Bronwyn Page/ AP

Tiny Monkey in Posh Coat Pays a Visit to Toronto Ikea remains the best headline of the new millennium.

Dogs who ride the subway

In America, you ride subway. In Russia, dog rides subway!

An ABC news report on the commuter puppies of Moscow, Russia.

Moscows city workers are nominally meant to keep the citys commuter dogs out of the citys metro system. In practice, however, personnel let the citys strays free rein to hop on the develops, scavenge for food and policeman a few winkings.

The New Yorker reports that the deregulation and new wealth of the post-Soviet epoch were perfect conditions for the spread of stray puppies. So why do they ride the trains in Moscow in particular? Its cold in Moscow, thats why.

More intriguingly, the dogs are learning new behaviour, such as riding the escalator, which, opportunities are, your pet puppy cannot do. Moscows puppies might not be smart smart-alecky, but theyre street smart.

Raccoons who ride the subway

In Canada, it is raccoons who ride the subway.( Canada is a country next to the US .)

Dead raccoons who bring people together

While were on the subject of raccoons in Canada, the death of one critter last summertime prompted a spontaneous outpouring of pity from emotionally available residents who, shocked at city officials delay in collecting the corpse, made a makeshift memorial that eventually attracted “members attention” of politicians. BuzzFeed Canada had the whole story.

Like failed London mayoral nominee Zac Goldsmith, raccoons might eat our garbage but they still deserve our respect: cities have apparently constructed raccoons smarter

Crows who use passing auto traffic to crack nuts

As the dog is to Moscow and the raccoon is to Toronto, so the crow is to Tokyo: a perfectly accommodated urban animal, sharpened into a hyper-competent uber-species by the whetstone of the city streets.( Crows are also vain .)

A black animal called El Chata who wander Mexico City

We crowdsourced his place during Guardian Mexico City Week. Whoever says citizen journalism doesnt work is badly misinformed.

That squirrel can waterski

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What are your favourite examples of animals adapting to urban environments? Share your stories, photographs and videos and well feature the best

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