(-By Alyse Wax) Before you start stockpiling canned peaches and firearms to prepare for the zombie apocalypse, listen to National Wildlife Federation naturalist David Mizejewski. Assuming that zombification is only a human disease, the wildlife may just take care of the zombie problem before it can overrun the earth.
In a guest article Mizejewski wrote for Boing Boing, he says: “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.” First off, there are birds. Many different species are scavengers, including vultures, crows, ravens, and gulls. California condors are also scavengers, massive in size, and highly endangered. Mizejewski theorizes that a zombie apocalypse could actually boost condor populations by giving them an abundance of food.
As far as mammals go, bears, wolves, and coyotes all eat dead flesh, and are certainly no match for mindless zombies. Large cats like cheetahs and jaguars generally avoid carrion, but they are quick to attack when threatened, and their preferred manner of killing is perfect to take out a zombie. Cheetahs tend to go for the nape of the neck, while jaguars can crush a human (non-rotten) skull with one chomp.
The most effective way to be rid of zombies is to let the countless types of insects, molds, fungi, and bacteria that feed on dead flesh to do their work. It might be a little slower (could take up to a month to completely strip away every bit of flesh from a corpse) but it would be thorough, pose no threat to the living, and would leave very little cleanup for the survivors.
So instead of moving to a survivalist compound, maybe you should move to a zoo. Walk with a pet jaguar, hang out with a grizzly bear, and let all the carrion birds out of the aviary. They could reduce the zombie population to a pile of bones in a matter of a month or so.