Stop Feeding Squirrels- Here's why
Squirrels are the famous cute little animals found in parks all across America. Did you know that squirrels were intentionally placed in man-made parks? They are generally not aggressive (unless cornered or infesting your home) which makes them great to have in the trees.
Recently some squirrels have increased in their aggression and became more fearless of humans- why is this happening?
The reason this is because people are feeding squirrels! Feeding wild animals such as squirrels is very bad for them (and us), and as fun as it is, you should probably stop doing it- here’s why.
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Human Food Isn’t Healthy For Them
You may love your popcorn and chips, but all because you enjoy it doesn’t mean that the squirrels are supposed to have it. Squirrels (and other wild animals) will eat basically anything that comes their way because they’re so used to having to scavenge for food.
While it seems like a kind gesture to help an animal out, you might actually not be doing it any good- they may become sick, weakened, or fatigued as a result of the human food you give them.
What is a kind gesture between humans could be the difference between life and death for a wild animal. It simple terms this means your food could be helping them get killed because they can’t digest our food.
Some wild animals are also meant to go longer periods of times without food, so the unnecessary amounts of food could make them apathetic and sick.
Feeding Prompts Infestation
Did you know in Yosemite national park more than 1,100 vehicles were broken into by black bears in search of food in 1998? Breaking into a car is a crime typically reserved for humans, but not when wild animals have become so accustomed to eating from us!
Once they realize that our food comes from us, and we arrive in our cars, there’s no stopping the infestation- and there’s no laws stopping them either.
We at Wildlife x Team International are rather familiar with wild animals’ infestation people’s homes in search of shelter or food. In fact most of our bites come from squirrels that we had to remove!
Squirrels typically run away when you approach them, but that’s only in the wild. In a cramped space such as an attic, they feel they have no other choice but to attack. If you, your pets, or we have to deal with that, it means that someone could get bit.
Animal infestation in your home is expensive and no fun to deal with. Save yourself the trouble and don’t feed animals, especially when it’s in the vicinity of your home, otherwise you’ll be teaching them to come on in to search for food!
Wild animals are not civil creatures. When they are hungry, they’ll do whatever it takes to get fed.
A simple YouTube search of “animals attacking humans for food” will reveal countless videos showing that some wild animals, such as birds, are becoming more aggressive because people often throw their food and run away.
When wild animals get conditioned to receiving food from us, they have the capacity to get very aggressive when we don’t immediately feed them.
They want their food, and they will get it! Animals naturally become aggressive in their search of food in the wild when hungry, and we don’t want that aggression turning onto us.
Feeding them also teaches them that we will not harm them. We at Wildlife x Team International try to ethically remove wild animals, but the perceived threat of death is enough to keep most wild animals away. When that fear goes away, there’s no telling just how aggressive wild animals can get.
Think of it like this: if there were no consequences of crime, how many more criminals do you think would be running about? The same is true of animals. Even if we intend to treat them kindly, we don’t want them learning that we won’t actually harm them because then they will act fearlessly in their demands from us.
Fights between Squirrels
How many squirrels are you willing to feed? One? Two? One hundred?
When you feed wild animals such as squirrels, others that aren’t getting fed get jealous. If you’ve ever been on the beach and watched a bird get fed, you’ll observe that quickly countless birds fly around the one person all wanting their share.
The same is true of squirrels. They will fight with each other in desperation for the food if they are hungry.
Again, feeding wild animals sounds like a kind gesture, but it may also promote violence between squirrels, undoing what good you set out to do.
It Spreads Disease
While not so common, squirrels can sometimes carry rabies, or other deadly diseases. These diseases are typically spread through bites & scratches, but can also spread just by touching.
Rabies for example is very deadly and symptoms usually do not appear until it’s almost too late. If you get bit by a wild animal, it’s always advised to get shots as soon as possible so that you don’t die.
Even if you don’t get bit, wild animals can spread disease. For example, we’ve had wild animals leave waste (such as poop) or die in people’s home, which attracts all kinds of bacteria and insects.
Do what is right for you, your family, your neighbors, as well as the squirrels themselves. Please stop feeding them!
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Thanks for reading,
-Wildlife x Team International