Should you feed wildlife animals? The answer may surprise you…
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Should you feed wildlife animals?
In most cases, the answer is “no.” There are exceptions, such as safe food for raccoons & birds in your backyard. Feeding animals can hurt them, negatively condition them, and cause consequences for both humans AND the animals being fed. Here are four reasons you should NOT feed wildlife animals, and in the end we will go over some exceptions if you still want to.
Reason #1: Animals losing caution of humans
When an animal begins losing their caution around humans, they may walk around carelessly in car-filled cities. Wildlife animals could get hit by a car, or they may naturally dig holes, causing property damage.
Wildlife animals may also begin to approach humans and be a bit persistent, following humans around. This can be annoying to the human, and the animals may get hurt by going somewhere they shouldn’t (ie. a construction site).
Reason #2: Human food is bad for animals
Angel Wing is a deformity found in ducks, goose, and other animals found at public parks with lakes. Crackers, cereal, and white bread is simply not meant for wildlife animals, and feeding them this food will not be good for their health in the long-term. It can make them sick and reduce their energy levels potentially preventing them from naturally sourcing their food in the future.
If you do want to feed wildlife animals at a park or in your backyard, make sure you first research foods that are SAFE for the animals to eat. Unsafe foods for the wildlife animals is a disservice to nature in the long term!
Reason #3: Causes aggression between animals
If you’ve ever been at a beach and fed one bird, you’ll know that you have to feed them all. When one animal sees a human feeding their species, it will naturally want free, easy food as well! Not long after feeding one bird, several birds will show up and they may begin getting aggressive with each other for your food.
This could hurt nearby property, the animals themselves, and even you if the animals are super hungry.
Reason #4: Negative conditioning
Wildlife animals are supposed to source their own food (hunting, eating plants, etc.). When humans give animals food, they begin becoming conditioned to getting food from humans. It’s easier and quicker, so wildlife animals may begin pestering humans for food knowing its easier to get a quick bite.
This causes wildlife animals to become aggressive and forceful to humans when they have food. If you’ve ever had food at a beach with a lot of birds, you’ll know that you have to be very careful in protecting your food. When wildlife animals then go back into the wild or humans simply stop feeding them, their ability to hunt and source food isn’t as good as it used to be, so they may be more likely to starve.
The long-term effects of feeding wildlife animals
Feeding wildlife animals helps them in the short term but really hurts them in the long term. The effects can also hurt humans when animals won’t stop pestering them, and even property as animals dive deeper into cities in search of human food. Wildlife animals are NOT supposed to receive food from humans, and the long-term effects will hurt the animal more than helping them. Show some tough love to these animals and don’t feed them- you’re helping them in the long run.
The exceptions to feeding wildlife animals
There are a few exceptions to all of this- animals at local ponds and birds/squirrels in your back yard. If you want to feed these animals, please make sure you are feeding them food that is SAFE, healthy, and environmentally friendly. Do NOT feed these animals human food, and don’t give them too much- a few bites should be enough for them so they still have to find food in the wild.
Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoyed this post!
-Wildlife X Team International