National Wildlife Federation naturalist David Mizejewski recently published an article (on BoingBoing) in which he examines a little discussed  zombie apocalypse topic.  Exactly  how would animals fare in a zombie apocalypse, and specifically, how would they fare against the undead themselves?

Clearly, if man were to cease to exist, the remaining living organisms on planet Earth would likely flourish. Even when we endeavor to do good by nature, it’s only because we have endangered a biosphere that was happily thriving before we came along, anyway.  But despite all of that, Mizejewski believes that wildlife would still have our back:

Relax. Next time you’re lying in bed, unable to fall asleep thanks to the vague anxiety of half-rotten corpses munching on you in the dark, remember this: if there was ever a zombie uprising, wildlife would kick its ass.

Mizejewsk, a naturalist and media personality starts his examination by making one assumption: whatever is causing the dead to reanimate can not cross the species barrier.  Fair assumption I think. With what we know about “viral transfer,” this will likely be the case (but who knows).

And why don’t zombies have a chance?  Mizejewsk continues:

…zombies are essentially walking carrion, and Mother Nature doesn’t let anything go to waste.  Carrion is on the menu for a vast number of species, from tiny micro-organisms to the largest carnivores.

While many of the following listed animals normally shy away from living and breathing humans, rotting and purifying corpses would be a treat too tasty to pass up.  You might not normally sees these animals as liberators, but when the apocalypse hits the fan, you’ll be glad they’re around.

The larger American birds seem to be especially positioned as “zombie Annihilators.”  They include vultures, condors, ravens and eagles. Let’s not forget our larger mammal friends which include bears, wolves and even mountain lions.  And we’ve not even touched on animals that can be found outside North America, like the huge cats and other massive carnivores and scavengers.

But nothing completely destroys once-living flesh better than nature’s own “clean up crew.”

Zombies, with their rotting flesh, are obviously not immune to these decomposers (what do you think causes the rotting effect?), many of which are too small to see with the bare eye. Bacteria, fungi, molds, insects such as fly maggots or flesh-eating beetles, and other invertebrates, all make up nature’s diminutive clean-up crew. And it can obliterate a dead body in surprisingly little time. The clumsy undead wouldn’t have the dexterity to pick off these decomposers, even if they could see or feel them.

It’s pretty apparent that our wildlife is more equipped to survive a zombie apocalypse than we are.  Now if we could just stop pissing off Mother Nature, maybe she’ll be around to help us when we need her most!


  1. What if the strain evolves from Rabies? Screwed are we? Maybe.

  2. Ive always heard that animals wont eat diseased meat and will go out of their way to avoid it. So would this apply to zombies? Whats the differance between a virus and a disease or is there any?

  3. Yea it can jump a little species for an example monkeys have a same DNA pattern like humans so there is an possibility. It can jump from monkeys to humans or humans to monkeys . HIV AIDS was an example of monkeys to human

  4. Let's hide in the Empire State!

    Ok think about it, no matter how ripped and torn up a zombie gets by let’s say a bear it won’t die(again) unless a serious wound is put to its head or it’s brain is punctured by something sharp, so I’m not saying this bear won’t win but there will be no victors in this fight Zombie vs Animals.

    Yes I understand bears are powerful but so is an infectious bite, so this fight is a tie.

  5. Ok, let’s assume a cross species contamination is possible. (Honestly it would be highly unlikely. Even though there are diseases that have crossed species, they are so few and far between that the chances that the zombie disease would come into existence AND be able to cross from pigs to humans or something is almost nonexistent.) If it could jump species, it would not be able to cross to every animal on the planet. There are only a few species that have enough DNA in common to even make it possible. Next, if it did jump, why would a herbivore suddenly become a carnivore? Even if the virus could take over a horse, there could be no possible sustanence gained from biting a human. A virus or bacteria is not going to be intelligent enough to control its host and decide on suitable new targets to spread the disease. Humans are omnivores so it wouldn’t be that hard for the zombie disease to access a human’s natural need for meat and use that to pass the virus. If you are going to assume a zombie disease is possible, then you have to think scientifically because science describes the real world.

    • I’m not saying I’m an authority on viral infection, but I’m pretty sure you aren’t either. And who is to say it will even be viral or bacterial. I was just postulating the hypothetical scenario that if it had hopped to any of these species it would be worse than if it had only affected the human race itself.

      As far as birds, pigs, large carnivores and other extant species that derive protein from meat sources, there are a hell of a lot of them to be worried about if the species barrier were jumped.

      Even just carriers with no symptoms would still be a constant threat.

      It could happen in many ways. Viral, a space parasite, genetic manipulation, etc…
      It could be spread in many ways. through the bite, airborne, through tactile means, in the water, etc…

      There are far too many variables for you to nay-say a hypothetical scenario based on science that isn’t even founded because there is no way to know how or what the “disease” is or behaves.

      Once again, it was a hypothetical scenario. Its an unpredictable plague that may never happen but its fun to think about all the ways it could.

      Its why zombies in TV, movies and video games hasn’t faded. Its still got some miles on it due to its unpredictability.

  6. I if it crosses the species barrier we will all be totally screwed. You think a bear is bad? What about a zombie-bear. What about a tiger? Or a shark? What about if it somehow infected a sperm whale? Oh damn… what if it happened to birds. You think crows are a nuisance now? Wait until a flock of zombie-crows is savagely trying to enter your head through any open orifice to eat your brains. I don’t even want to think about zombie cats. They are creepy enough as is without adding undead into the mix.

    But yeah… It would really suck. Although, if it doesn’t, and it was designed for humans and never mutated to a point which it would be spread to other animals they would make excellent waste disposals. Especially pigs. They eat the damn bones and everything.

    Although if it happened to a horse, I would pull a Michonne and remove its teeth and lower jaw and be riding a zombie horse like a boss. Its gonna be slower than other horses, but it will make up for it with its visible skeleton and decaying flesh. unless it goes insane as hell like a RESIDENT EVIL or I AM LEGEND type zombie. Rhino zombie… Alligator Zombie… Snake zombies… Zombie mice…

    Hornet Zombies.

    • Jeez! I’m with you on the zombie cats! That’s just plain terrifying!

      • Yeah. Cats are some crazy bastards. Just imagine one running at you with an eyeball hanging out.

        Zombie cats…

        I just think of the worst case scenarios. Any animal once going zombie is infinitely more dangerous than its non-zombie counterpart.

        Not only do they have the potential to infect you, they are aggressively trying to eat you.

        And what if the infection does make them all fast as hell? Zombie rabbits or zombie cheetahs would be the top predators. Crazy superfast zombie cheetahs.

        The point is, it would far worse than just having zombie humans.

    • zombees…..?

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