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Picnic wars

I know a lady in Lafayette who used to feed raccoons in her back yard. Huge numbers of raccoons like you wouldn’t believe. Sometimes 20-30 raccoons a night. These patio parties would also attract skunks, foxes, opossums and even domestic cats. She had these large ceramic bowls she’d fill to the brim with dog and cat kibble, and raccoons and other animals from near and far would come just after dark to take advantage of this grand nightly feast. And when all the food was gone after an hour or so … all you-know-what would break loose in the lady’s Lafayette neighborhood.

Bands of raccoons would visit the yards belonging to the lady’s neighbors and start destroying everything in sight when they didn’t find any food.

The raccoon feeder in Lafayette had created a monster.

Not only was she raining raccoon destruction down on her neighbors, she was also creating a multitude of problems for her wild animal "friends." In the wild, Mother Nature gives her wild animals certain habits and attitudes that keep them away from these kinds of social events. If too many wild creatures gather together regularly, it’s a dangerous way to spread diseases from animal to animal. Especially when different species of animals are brought together. Skunks are the major vectors of rabies (a fatal disease) in California. Foxes can carry canine distemper, and domestic cats carry feline distemper … and raccoons can catch them both.

Instead of doing good things for her raccoon friends with these feedings, the lady in Lafayette may have been killing them.

What a mess.

Posted on Wednesday, September 6th, 2006
Under: Feeding wildlife, Raccoons | No Comments »