Interspecies violence is the norm in the animal kingdom. Securing essential resources that enable continued survival is every animal species priority. It is easy to find instances of animal-on-animal conflicts in the wild, but how do wild animals partition resources within overlapping urban habitats? Wild animals like raccoons, opossums and rats have become relatively well acclimated to urban habitats where food sources are readily available within garbage collections. Of course, the immense amount of garbage and other forms of waste that collect in urban areas provides urban dwelling animals with a great advantage over their rural counterparts, but sometimes even big city animals can get into turf wars over access to garbage sites. For example, residents of the Flushing neighborhood in New York City have been witnessing a long running war between raccoons and rats over access to garbage. In many cases, the warring raccoons and rats have endangered humans by bringing their conflict too close to human dwellings.

If you were going to find a turf war between raccoons and rats anywhere on the planet, then it would be New York City. Although New York City is not the most populous city in the world, residents of the city tend to consume more than residents of other cities around the world, and New York City is behind many other big cities when it comes to recycling efforts. Due to these factors, New York City contains a relatively colossal amount of garbage. Despite the city’s massive garbage collection, there is still not enough to go around for all of the Big Apple’s trash-foraging wild animal inhabitants. A resident of Bland Houses in Flushing named Melba Nazario found three rats battling it out with two raccoons over a mound of trash while she was walking her grandkids to their school bus. Luckily, Nazario managed to capture some footage of the fight on her phone. Nazario is not the only resident of the area to have noticed the sudden arrival of raccoon on rat violence. Several residents have complained to the apartment managers about the dangers that the warring animals pose to humans. A spokesperson for the New York City Housing Authority claimed that efforts are underway to have the raccoons safely relocated, and several volunteers are removing trash from the neighborhood in order to prevent further turf battles between raccoons and rats.

Have you ever witness a violent confrontation between two different wild animal species?