Should You Feed Wild Animals?
Increasing Contact Between Wildlife And Domestic Animals
Should You Feed Wildlife?
The idea of feeding the animals is something that has a very romantic feeling to it, and seeing grateful creatures coming to get a treat at a zoo or among pets can make some people want to achieve a similar reaction from wildlife. In some cases, it may actually be possible to find wild animals that will react calmly or in a docile fashion if they are fed, but there are also plenty of problems that come with feeding wildlife. Before you decide to feed wildlife, whether it be by leaving out a bowl of cat food or giving dog biscuits to a local raccoon or squirrel, bear in mind the effect that this action can have.
Attracting Pest Animals
One of the big problems that can be caused by feeding wild animals is that it can draw pest animals to the area where you are offering food, and in many cases this kind of action can draw more pest animals to the area. This can be a problem whether you are feeding animals in the park or in the back garden, as bringing wild animals into an area where they come into contact with people can increase the likelihood of conflict. These animals can also become dependent on handouts, particularly in areas where they are regularly being fed, and as they have access to a food source they can often become overweight, or even turn their energy to activities that are more of a nuisance.
Another problem that can arise if you choose to feed wildlife is that drawing these wild animals to an area where there are more domestic animals can cause problems for pets and pet owners as they come into contact with these animals more often. This can lead to problems for the owners of domestic animals, but can also skew the natural balance of different species that are found in that particular area. An important factor to consider is that feeding wildlife can eventually lead to a greater pest animal population in an area, which can ultimately lead to more contact and conflict between this population and domestic animals.
What Do Wild Animals Eat?
Depending on the wildlife you intend to feed, the type of food to prepare will vary, and while pigeons and other birds will be attracted are happy to eat any seeds or breadcrumbs you have, other animals can be a little more picky. Animals such as feral cats and dogs will be drawn to dry pet food or meat of any kind, while raccoons are also more than happy to take meat, as well as fruit and vegetables. Smaller animals such as squirrels and rabbits will enjoy carrots and green vegetables cut into pieces, or even fruit.
Feeding Wildlife In The Park
One of the most important things to remember when you are feeding wildlife is not to hand feed any animals, as they will often not have the politeness of domestic animals, and can often snatch, scratch or bite as they grab any food available. If you must feed wild animals in the park, make sure that you put any food on the floor, and step back a safe distance before the animals come in to take the food from a tray or plate. This type of animal feeding can be an opportunity to allow young people and children to see wild animals, but as with most animal feeding, this can cause problems in the park in the long run.
Feeding Ducks And Birds
Ducks and birds are another common type of wildlife that many people will feed, and like with other animals, make sure you do not get too close to the birds themselves as they can snatch food and cause cuts and grazes. One of the particular problems can come if you are feeding pigeons or birds in a large open area, as in some cases the birds can swarm around those giving the food, as they try to get to the food. While ducks and pigeons are usually fairly docile when they are being fed, avoid larger birds like geese and swans, as they can be aggressive and unpredictable.
Wild Animals With Diseases
As well as causing trouble when they are attracted by those who feed wildlife, wild animals can also bring diseases, and these can sometimes be transmitted to those feeding them, or to the other animals in the area that they come into contact with. Most mammals can carry rabies, but there is a significant proportion of the raccoon population that carry the disease, so it is worth being particularly careful. If you do see an increase in the wild animal population, it is also worth being careful and keeping an eye on the health of any domestic pets, in case they contract any diseases from the wildlife.
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