Many people enjoy feeding wildlife because it allows for close contact, or because they believe they are helping the animals survive. While seeing wild animals up close is fun, providing wild animals with a constant, human supplied food source often leads to problems for both animals and humans.
There are many good reasons not to feed wildlife, including:
When young wild animals are taught to depend on a human-provided food source, they may not develop the essential foraging skills needed to thrive in the wild. Later, when they leave their parents’ territory and its human food source, they may not be able to survive.
Wild animals fed by humans often lose their natural fear of people. These animals may approach people for food. They may then be mistaken as dangerous or even rabid, and killed for that behavior. They also become easy targets for people who mean them harm. Fear of people is essential to a wild animal’s survival.
Most times, the food offered is not nutritionally complete and can cause serious health problems for the animals, especially when they are young. When a constant human-provided food source is available, animals who would normally have a varied diet may only eat this constantly available food. Wild animals need a variety of foods in their diet, and if they fill up on ‘junk’ food they will not get the nutrients they need to stay healthy.
A constant food source attracts many more wild animals to the area than would normally be found there. If one animal in the group has a disease, it may spread quickly and destroy a large number of animals.
We often receive phone calls from neighbors of people who have been feeding wild animals. The wild animals have become a nuisance to the neighbor, who now wants to kill or remove them. Many people do not think about the neighborhood impact when they start feeding wildlife.
If you want to help the wild animals on your property, give them habitat not handouts. Naturescaping is a great way to provide natural sources of food and shelter that will not put wildlife at risk like a human-provided food source. With naturescaping, you can enhance your enjoyment of the wildlife on your property, at a safe distance for both you and the animals.