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Re: interesting visitor

Thus far (and I clearly want to hear all pros and cons from everyone), I
appreciate the safety factor mentioned by Daryl.  It can be very scary.  But
I don't know how right it is to pass judgement across the board on all
wildlife because of the fear of such danger.  Is the percentage of rabies
incidence in raccoons really high?  And I do worry for my cats, although
they are all smart enough to steer clear of raccoons.

Pam mentioned feeding from a distance, but that's not particularly plausible
as I don't have a lot of space here - unless you meant distance like not
directly outside my patio door :)

Donna makes a good point about the detriment of creating dependency, but
then, perhaps we shouldn't feed birds either for that reason.  But in the
case of raccoons, (correct me if I'm wrong) I believe they are scavengers
more than hunters.  They make the rounds of places they have found luck in
the past and check for new places. If no luck at a previously positve
location they move on hopefully to the next place on their list.  Dependency
would be created if fed daily, but how about 3 times a week?

I've read alot about feral cat colonies and cats are considered
"opportunistic feeders".  This means they dine in the easiest, most pleasant
manner available to them.  If food is supplied to these cats, their hunting
of birds is reduced because the supplied cat food is a whole lot easier.
Yes, they still hunt some, but not nearly as much.  My thoughts when I refer
to raccoons as scavengers is that they, too, are opportunistic feeders after
a fashion.

When Donna refers to wildlife feeding on "natural food to hunt around them",
I agree that that's the best route.  But their natural habitat has been so
squeezed by overdevelopment by man that their may not be a lot of "natural
food to hunt around them".  So would putting out a bowl a few times a week
hinder the natural instincts of a scavenger?

I'm still undecided, would like to hear more from you.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Donna" <justme@prairieinet.net>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Sunday, July 13, 2003 12:19 PM
Subject: RE: [CHAT] interesting visitor

> I am not cold hearted, but most times make wildlife be just that-
> wildlife. I only add supplemental food when extreme conditions prevail.
> You are really hurting the animals if they have to depend on you to eat.
> I am sure you are very faithful in feeding them, but what happens when
> you go on vacation, or get ill for a week, or?? ... You have trained
> them to rely on you, not find natural food to hunt around them.
> Having said that, I grow things for the wildlife around here. Even if I
> am not around, it is there for them. Doubt I would get more wildlife if
> I put out food daily.
> In winter when we have massive storms and there is nothing they can get
> too... then I put out some treats. They always seem to find it, even tho
> it is not there on a regular bases.
> I apply this theory to all wildlife... from raccoons to birds to
> anything that wanders in here.
> Donna
> >
> > So what do you all think?  Should I feed the raccoon family?
> >
> > Kitty
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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