Why Shouldn't You Feed Wildlife?

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Please don't feed wild animals! Yes, it's fun to do! Many people feel good doing it. They think they're helping the critters. People get a warm fuzzy feeling inside. BUT FEEDING WILD ANIMALS HURTS THEM. Absolutely. If you make wild animals dependent on human food sources, they lose some of their ability to survive in the wild, and often it results in dangerous encounters between people and animals. Also, I've seen dozens of horrific cases of diseased and malnourished packs of raccoons and even foxes as a result of people leaving out food for them. This is because feeding causes a bunch of animals to get together, and dependent on human feeding, and they breed in excess of what the normal environment will support, and then you've got a lot of wild animals in one small area, they fight, they spread disease between each other, and the population grows too large to feed, and heaven help them when the overwhelmed human stops feeding them, they all starve even worse.

I get dozens of phone calls and emails on the matter. Here is one such email:

I live in San Diego in a rural mountainous area. I have been feeding squirrels, opossums, raccoons, skunks, birds... in my back yard for a long time now. I can't help it because they are so cute and so hungry.

They don't cause any trouble what so ever or make any mess at all as i believe the newer generations of each different animal has been taught that the food and water here is purposely put out for them and that i am very kind to them so there is no need to steal, destroy property or have any defensive fighting attitudes. It's like a beautiful sanctuary and all of this wildlife co exists and it feels good to be looking after God's creatures you know??

Anyway... yada yada yada.. I know I know... It's soooooo bad what i am doing!!! And get this? I am so bad! I actually have 3 beautiful indoor cats who i let hang out in the back yard during the day when i friggin KNOW that these wild life creatures are likely full of fleas and disease!!! I need to stop feeding them all together as in right now, dont i...

Even tho my cats don't leave the patio really, and they all have their shots and use Advantage (which i believe has kept any fleas from transferring) and? They do actually sit at the sliding glass door at night and touch paws and noses with the raccoons through the glass and i do it too bcuz they are so tame and cute..

I believe that the 15 years i have been living here and caring for each generation of these animals has kept their families confined to this particular area meaning no other outside families have wandered in and none of these families have wandered out to roam elsewhere.. To me that is maybe why there are no signs of rabies, disease, mange or fighting amongst each other.

Okay, all of this aside, i know in my brain up in there somewhere.. that this is wrong and i need to stop.

Because i cannot seem to listen to my own voice of reason i felt it was time to seek a professional like you to set me straight and tell me to stop keeping a plastic bin on my back porch (ya, i actually keep it right next to the entrance to my house!) (what a dumbass!) full to the top with dry cat food and another bin full of fresh water! Ya! I actually do this! I can't believe myself and how dumb i can be..

I do put lids on the bins in the daytime so my girls don't get into them but the point is, is that i am inviting all of the fleas and ticks and mites and God only knows what, into my property where my animals are subjected to this every day! After reading your information on the website i found, who knows what is in any of their waste or fecal matter that they are leaving behind..

Please tell me to stop feeding them if you think that it is wrong to do and maybe assure me that they will be ok out there in the freezing cold with no food from me and that they will find food somewhere else?

Thank you! Jayla

So this person understands that feeding wild animals is bad, but as you can see, it can be very hard to stop doing, because people feel good about feeding wild animals, and it's a lot of fun. Who doesn't like to watch a critter enjoy a free treat? Yay! But it is most definitely worse for the animals in the long run.

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