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!