Raccoons are probably among the cutest nocturnal animals in your neighbourhood. Most people fall in love with their uniquely-coloured faces and those little tiny hands. Unfortunately, as any specialist on raccoon control in Niagara can attest, the infatuation with the cuteness of raccoons often leads to feeding and evolves into problems.
Raccoons are wild animals; they are not pets. Treating the animal as a pet risks not only your health and safety but the animals as well. People can receive bites when being overly friendly with raccoons, and many people have gotten infections or illnesses due to being in continual close contact with the animals without proper protection.
However, beyond the potential dangers posed to humans when feeding raccoons, people do not realize the threat to the animal that their interference poses. There are at least six reasons you should not feed a wild raccoon.
When you begin feeding wild raccoons, you start the animal down a path of habituation. In laypeople’s terms, the animal engages in a new habit, one where it does not fear people but depends on them for a food source.
The problem with habituation is that not all people realize when a raccoon is accustomed to people versus when it is ill. People might assume that a raccoon that shows no fear towards people is sick, leading to trapping or killing.
People tend to feed raccoons table scraps or other food items not part of their natural diet. Since raccoons are foragers, they will go where the food is easy to come by. Unfortunately, a lack of variety in their diet can lead to malnutrition, which can result in the animal becoming weak and sick, possibly succumbing to the issue and dying.
While raccoons do not migrate in the traditional sense, they will move their dens to other locations to be closer to adequate food sources, especially in the colder months. When you feed raccoons, they have no reason to leave the area or den they made. Unfortunately, if you decide to stop feeding the animal in the middle of winter, you effectively eliminate its food source, leaving it few options, if any.
Some people argue that they can feed their backyard raccoons if they want. Unfortunately, one or two raccoons will quickly multiply to three or four, then eight or ten. If a raccoon finds a sustainable food source, others are not far behind.
Additionally, raccoons are not the only critters that will catch on to the daily feedings. You will eventually attract all sorts of wildlife. Many people who start by feeding one critter quickly become overwhelmed with a small population and need to call an expert to remove the animals, which is not always possible.
5. Vehicular Accidents
As raccoons become more comfortable with a feeding routine, they can become a bit lax about safety and caution. Since raccoons are nocturnal, they often get hit by cars at night. If you are feeding the animals nightly, it is not uncommon for there to be an uptick in roadkill incidents in the neighbourhood.
6. Accessing Your Home
Raccoons prefer to keep their dens near their food and water source. If you are continually feeding the animals in your backyard, it is only a matter of time before they figure out how to get under your deck, into your shed, or into your attic. Once they are inside, they can cause a lot of damage.
If you have a raccoon population around your home or made the mistake of feeding some cute critters, contact Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control. The company will schedule a property inspection and send a technician out to determine your needs and provide an estimate for presented services.