Tag Archives: feeding wild animals

Today’s Nature Lesson: Do Not Feed Raccoons

Raccoon in a garden in Kamouraska, Québec. Photo:Christopher Michaud (Wikimedia Commons)
Raccoon in a garden in Kamouraska, Québec.
Photo:Christopher Michaud (Wikimedia Commons)

Raccoons are a very hearty breed. Omnivorous and generally nocturnal (though not always, it depends upon other factors such as food and predators). They exist in rural and most importantly these days in cities. Apparently Toronto is considered to have the greatest number of raccoons in North America. And they migrate as well. Raccoons are highly adaptable to new environments. While they started out in marshy and wooded areas, they now live in cities and towns as well. They have even shown up in Alaska. While they started out as native to North America, they are now also showing up in Europe, Caucasia, and Japan.

Urban raccoons (like their counterparts in rural areas)are considered very clever. Unlike their rural counterparts, they are not afraid of humans and wander freely around our areas. And they are often see them feeding from our garbage. Those who grow fruit do not like raccoons much as they will climb the trees to eat the fruit. Growers of sweet corn also have to take precautions as do those who have hen houses as they will break in to eat the eggs. Likewise if you have a nice pond in your courtyard stocked with some beautiful koi, you might want to invest in a protective cover or a raccoon will likely have a nice meal.

But the greatest danger to humans comes from something else: rabies. They can spread the disease to humans through their saliva and bites. Feeding wild animals is always a risky proposition, even for those trained to do it. Keeping all this in mind, one wonders why someone would think it wise to feed a raccoon by hand. It is one thing to give them food in a bowl (which is discouraged because they might get dependent on a human and stop seeking food on their own)but to offer it out of your hand is stupid and foolish (look up those words, they do have separate meanings). So here is a YouTube video of someone who did just that. The accompanying news story is at UPI.

Raccoon (Wikipedia)
Raccon Tracks