It is illegal to feed wildlife across the U.S. but every area had it’s own nuances. Not sure about your area or the area you are going to visit, then simply do not feed anything that is not your personal pet and you will be good (and neighborly). The regulations can actually be surprising, did you know in some areas it is illegal to have bird and squirrel feeders?
I borrowed the reasons below from the SPCA for Monterey County. When I think about who is at the top of the heap in wildlife knowledge, you would have to think Monterey is right up there.
- Providing an artificial food source causes adults to produce large families which the natural food supply can’t support. Overpopulation can lead to starvation and epidemics of disease, some of which are dangerous to humans.
- Animals have specialized diets and can die from the wrong foods. If a baby animal receives the wrong diet, even for a day or two, it can permanently damage developing bone and muscle. The wrong food can cause disease, mouth injuries, throat obstructions and death.
- It is illegal to feed wildlife. Monterey County, Pacific Grove, Monterey, and other cities all have ordinances that prohibit feeding of wildlife.
- Feeding causes wild animals to lose their natural fear of humans. Tamed wild animals can become an easy target, or the bold advances of a tamed wild animal can be misinterpreted as an “attack.”
- Feeding changes behavior, often with catastrophic results. Feeding can cause death by preventing a species from migrating. It can also cause harmful interaction between species that usually don’t compete for food.
- You risk injury when you do not keep a respectful distance from wild animals. Wildlife can misinterpret your actions. They may not know where the food stops and your fingers begin. Once again, animals lose when people complain of being bitten or “attacked.”
- Feeding ground squirrels that burrow along the shoreline causes overpopulation and erosion. Banks weaken from the tunneling of too many squirrels. Waves pound the hole-ridden banks, causing shoreline and habitat loss.
- Providing food in residential areas (with the exception of birdseed feeders) often leads to property damage and unwelcome “houseguests”. Sometimes people feed wildlife inadvertently when they leave pet food dishes outside or do not secure garbage.
If you care about wild animals, please don’t feed them.
For More Information About Wildlife from the SPCA for Monterey County, go here -> http://www.spcamc.org/wildlife/spca-wildlife-center/