Desperate Animals Search For Life-Giving Water In The California Drought

A prolonged drought in California has led the state to impose water restrictions in a desperate attempt to conserve water. While people are husbanding their water supplies, animals are struggling to find water too, threatening their survival in this unprecedented harsh climate.

Chinook and Coho Salmon

USFWS – Pacific Region via flickr

Dropping water levels in California’s streams and reservoirs have led to a lack of reproduction from several species of salmon. The Washington Post reports that only 5 percent of their eggs are surviving at the current water level.

The Iconic Bald Eagle


According to Take Part, our nation’s animal is having a hard time with the drought. These harsh conditions have led the rivers to run lower, which means that there are far fewer fish, like salmon, for the eagles to eat.

Black Bears in the Backyard

Michael Maher via flickr

CBS News reports that calls about black bears in residential areas have nearly doubled since before the drought. They come to seek water from swimming pools, fountains, fish ponds, and even dog dishes and to scavenge through dumpsters in search of food.

Coyotes Give Chase

Manop via flickr

Coyotes are following a similar pattern to the bears. They are entering urban communities in search of water. A Burbank resident described being chased by a pack of coyotes while out walking his dog.

Rattlesnakes in the City

David~O via flickr

Like the bears and coyotes, rattlesnakes are also venturing into urban areas, which is dangerous to both people and their pets. Take Part says that the snakes follow their prey, who come into residential areas looking for water.

Giant Kangaroo Rats Are Dwindling

Two Ord's Kangaroo rats, Alberta
Andy Teucher via flickr

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Kangaroo rats in the Carizzo Plain are emaciated and their population has dwindled to endangered levels. The entire ecosystem of these grasslands depends on the rats, as they are prey for several larger predators, including snakes, eagles, coyotes, and owls.

Starving Barn Owls

Jon Nelson via flickr

Like the owls that feed on the giant kangaroo rats, barn owls and several other species throughout the state are having difficulty finding prey, as the smaller rodents move into populated areas to find food and water.

Southwestern Pond Turtles Say Goodbye to Their Home

devra via flickr

On Earth reports that these turtles, the only freshwater turtles native to California, are having a hard time with the drought as well. Lake Elizabeth, their primary habitat, has dropped to such a low level that the amount of salt and minerals in the water have made it uninhabitable for the turtles.

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