What happens if you quit feeding raccoons in your backyard?

  • By: Mike Hale
  • Date: July 17, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Feeding raccoons in your backyard is tempting because they are adorable. However, many animal experts discourage people from feeding wildlife animals like raccoons. If you’re one of them and you’re hesitant to stop feeding the raccoons, this post is for you. Forget about their cuteness for the meantime and understand what happens if you quit feeding raccoons in your backyard?

When you stop feeding raccoons in your backyard, you’re bringing back raccoons’ natural behavior especially in finding their food. They are created to find their food.  They won’t starve even if you stop feeding them.

If you’re not yet convinced that raccoons can live on their own, keep reading this post and learn more about feeding raccoons. You’ll also learn the threats you pose for the raccoons, for the people around you, and your pets when you keep on feeding the raccoons.

Raccoons in the backyard

Will raccoons starve if I stop feeding them?

Raccoons don’t starve even if you stop feeding them. Because they live in the wildlife, they can easily find food anywhere. They eat a wide variety of food including insects and nuts. So, you don’t need to worry if you stop feeding them. They’ll still survive.

If starvation of raccoons is your main concern, you don’t need to worry. You’re doing them a favor when you don’t feed them. If you don’t feed them, they’ll go back to their natural habitat and eat the food they’re supposed to eat. It means that you’re allowing them to eat the food that is right for them.

Also, when you stop feeding them, they won’t increase their number that can lead to territorial conflicts. Raccoons can be harmful to humans even though they get domesticated. Because they live in the wild, you’re not even sure about their health. They may bring diseases to the community that can lead to outbreaks.

Raccoons have secretions that can lead to leptospirosis, which can easily be absorbed in the body when a person has an open wound. Leptospirosis can damage your kidney. To avoid the disease, it’s better to discourage raccoons from coming to your backyard. 

What happens when you stop feeding raccoons?

When you stop feeding the raccoons, you’re keeping your community safe. Feeding raccoons invites danger in the community. Because it’s part of the wildlife, raccoons may bring diseases to you and your house pets. They are not easily tamed that they can bring damage to your property caused by their unpredictable wildlife behavior.

When you feed a raccoon, you’re not only inviting one raccoon. You’re also inviting its entire community. If the raccoons realize that your place is a good food source, they’ll keep coming back and invite others to get something to eat. It’s dangerous to have raccoons around not only because they can damage property but the disease they bring.

Raccoons have rabies. Any animal, even your house pet that has rabies is dangerous. Because of their unpredictable behavior, you won’t know when they scratch or bite you. Keeping them away from your backyard is a must.

If it’s not your intention to feed raccoons, you may still invite them unconsciously when you throw food in the trash bin. If your area has numerous raccoons around, it’s not a good idea to leave any food that they can feast. Being an omnivore, they almost eat everything. It means that they may also eat even your pet’s food. Raccoons have no restricted diet.

So, if you own pets, I strongly suggest that you feed them inside your house. Avoid leaving any traces of food in your backyard that raccoons can scavenge. If you can’t avoid throwing your leftovers into the bin, keep the bin in an enclosed area and bring it out when the garbage collector arrives. 


Why you should never feed raccoons?

You should never feed raccoons because it’s part of the wildlife. As a rule, it’s prohibited to feed wildlife animals. I’ve discussed earlier the danger that raccoons may give to your family. Now, let me discuss with you how dangerous it is for raccoons when you feed them. 

Feeding raccoons can change their behavior from being resourceful in finding food in the wild to being dependent on you. Because they know that your place is a good source of food, they’ll tend to keep coming back. A readily available food source is more convenient for them so they won’t bother to find it in another place. 

When so many raccoons learn that your place is a good food source, they’ll gather together. As they gather together, you can see them competing with the food that may lead to the malnourishment of some raccoons. The disease may start at this point that your house pet may acquire.

Raccoons may breed in your area. The growing number of raccoons may not be good for the community. When raccoons give birth, you can’t remove the animals until the nesting season ends. In addition, it took up to nine weeks before a young raccoon ventured out of the nest. This long period of nesting may lead to inviting more raccoons. 

If raccoons are already nesting in your backyard and you want to remove them, wait until the young raccoons left the nest. Never move young raccoons away from their mother. Use deterrent tools that can force the raccoons to leave. You can use ammonia-soaked rags near the area, seal chimneys when the raccoons are outside, and close other openings in your house. Never use smoke on chimneys because it can kill young raccoons.

Feeding raccoons may be irresistible but always keep in mind the safety of your family and your house pets. Don’t take a risk on their safety and health just because it breaks your heart not feeding the raccoons. Always keep in mind that you’re exposing yourself and your family to a more complicated problem if you don’t stop feeding the wildlife animals. We definitely need to care for animals but feeding the wildlife animals, in this case, is not caring for them at all.