Warnings of global warming include images of poorly polar bears, and threats of extinction. Global warming has been happening for hundreds of years, and animals so far have struggled but succeeded in coping, so how have animals managed to survive?
Some animals, like red foxes, butterflies, and some fish species, that are used to cooler temperatures have begun moving northwards, to find the temperatures that they’re used to.
This has caused a change in the world’s biodiversity, as different species from different regions have interacted and caused a change in the predation of the food chain. When certain animals move north, they may begin to prey on other animals, and leave their previous predators without prey.
Animals migrating thanks to global warming is also the reason for the spread of fruit flies. Whilst traditionally they live in warmer regions, they’ve spread to regions that have previously been cooler, because of the rise in temperature.
We all try to adapt to new situations and animals are no different, only they genetically adapt. So a fair few species have genetically adapted to attempt to survive the increasing temperature.
For example, tawny owls are either brown or light brown, depending on their environment. The light brown owls being more suited to blending into snowy forest backgrounds. Over the years, more brown owls have been born than light brown owls, because without any snow, there’s no need for them to be light in colour.
Change in lifestyle
Animals too can make changes to their lifestyles, and that’s exactly what they’ve done in response to global warming.
Animals who hibernate have been altering their hibernation patterns, as winter is no longer as long or as cold as it used to be.
Marmots are now ending their hibernations three weeks earlier than they were 30 years ago, and changes in mosquito hibernation patterns can be seen to occur over a period as small as five years.
Seals and polar bears are becoming noticeably thinner, and it’s not because they’re choosing to lose a little extra weight. Thanks to their prey migrating to cooler areas, these species are left without much choice for what to have for dinner.
But some other species are actually changing their diets willingly to try and combat the negative effects of global warming. For example, some birds, such as songbirds, are avoiding insects that feast on leaves have been exposed to a lot of CO2. This is because not only is CO2 bad for the environment, but it’s bad for animals as well.