Please Don't Feed the Raccoons!
I know they’ve been around; the sneaky little devils love to hang out around my home. I imagine they throw wild parties, eating fresh caught fish, frogs, and the occasional exotic snail. They wash their hands and food using my provisions, then loot and pillage with wild abandon.
Now, I have undeniable evidence of one of their hangouts. My white porch beams gave them away; however, their little paw prints all over the posts and beams showed me the need to clean where the dirt has collected. Raccoons have been a problem in my garden for many years. I try to live peaceably with them and having a dog helps to discourage them, but the evidence is clear the masked bandits are back.
Last weekend, I went on a lovely garden tour in Hansville, Washington. We had been experiencing record-breaking temperatures in the region, which made us decide on a garden tour near the beach instead of a tour on the same weekend in Olympia—known to be hotter than areas closer to the Puget Sound. Fortunately, every home we toured was near the water and the wonderful breezes made the day perfect! We enjoyed every lovely garden. However, when one homeowner went out to feed a family of raccoons, I was dismayed. I am sure the woman means well; however, feeding raccoons is a dreadful idea.
First, it does not help the raccoons to feed them, and is harmful because the number of raccoons in an area increases with the abundance of food. When they become over crowded, they are prone to diseases and parasites. Secondly, feeding them makes them less fearful of humans. They become more aggressive, which can be dangerous for children and pets. Thirdly, it increases the amount of damage done to other people’s homes and properties, including your own. When you stop feeding them, they become very aggressive, and then there is nothing cute about them. They are wild animals that we should treat respectfully, but not encourage them with food. Many people learn the hard way when they feed them—sometimes the price is high with property damage or harm to people and pets.
So please, if you feed raccoons, stop.