Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

From window shopping alligators to sunbathing squirrels: Animals are taking over during lockdown

Viral videos show animals taking over hotspots once frequented by human race before pandemic

Chris Riotta
New York
Tuesday 07 April 2020 23:44 BST
Animals are taking over hotspots once frequented by humans before the pandemic, according to reports. They seem to be having the time of their lives.
Animals are taking over hotspots once frequented by humans before the pandemic, according to reports. They seem to be having the time of their lives. (AFP via Getty Images)

Herds of deer gallivanting through the streets of Wisconsin. Hundreds of squirrels sunbathing in a California park. An alligator casually strolling through beach plazas and closed storefronts in South Carolina.

As hundreds of millions of Americans currently reside under some for of stay-at-home orders, the animals have come out to play — and they appear to be having the time of their lives.

Videos showing droves of animals taking over public parks and popular hotspots during the coronavirus pandemic have gone viral in recent days, each seemingly becoming a silver lining for countless viewers stuck at home.

Reports also indicated zoo animals were experiencing pure bliss amid a lack of prying eyes.

A Chicago aquarium allowed its penguins to enjoy a walk through the empty facilities while recording their curious reactions, and the New York Times reported that inhabitants of the Bronx Zoo didn’t seem to mind the absence of visitors amid a statewide shutdown.

Squirrels had taken over a deserted park in Santa Monica, California and were seen relaxing under the warm sun by a woman who posted a video online.

“There are literally hundreds of squirrels,” the woman says, seemingly astonished by the sight before her eyes. “Like, I don’t know where these guys came from, like are you seeing this? They are all running around now.”

She wasn’t the only person to witness animals ignoring the shutdown orders and living their best lives during the lock down.

In Myrtle Beach, a popular beach town for tourists in South Carolina that has since been largely empty due to the pandemic, an alligator was seen walking through a shopping centre that’s typically packed with customers around this time of year.

“I guess he is planning on going to Christmas Mouse,” a man who recorded the video of the alligator says as the animal heads over to a holiday shop. “Pretty crazy.”

Deer were also seen running through the streets of Wisconsin as the state remained under stay-at-home orders.

The majority of states across the country have issued stay-at-home guidelines as the White House extended its 15 day initiative to slow the spread of Covid-19 transmission for an additional month.

While many essential businesses remain open, including animal shelters — some of which previously told The Independent were experiencing a surge in rescues amid the pandemic — zoos and other facilities housing animals have largely been closed off to the public for the foreseeable future.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in