Monday, July 12, 2010

Executive Decisions

The time has come -- unfortunately -- to stop feeding the raccoons. I hasten to add I continue to feed during the day, for that is when the fox family and two mama coons and their six babies come to the terrace. But after three years, I realize I am doing more harm than good for the night feedings.

I have researched the pros and cons before 'cutting them off,' to be sure I am doing it correctly.

My decision is based on the following factors:

* Suddenly, we had forty coons on the terrace. FORTY. Fights were frequent. Forty is just -- too many.When I was growing up, for years we fed a family of coons who kept returning for generations, but their population never increased over eight to twelve. The sudden influx of so many, so soon, has become slightly scary.
* I am contributing to an over-population of coons for the area. The over-saturation is a result of too-easy food and over-breeding; stopping the easy source of food supply will eventually reduce them to their manageable numbers and healthier population.
* They are getting lazy and not doing their natural wild-thing.
* They don't need to rely on humans, and other humans may not be as welcoming and kind as we have been.
* If they get trapped and relocated somewhere else, they don't respond well to a new environment. And god forbid people start shooting them.
* The buying for their dog food -- even the cheapest bags -- was beginning to be a drain, and we need to concentrate on the other wild ones in the sanctuary -- the mustangs.
* We are tiring of the destruction. Despite keeping them well fed, they insist on tearing up our patio, terrace, garden bench, screens, plants, decorative elements in the yard...I kept warning them the gravy train would end if they couldn't behave, but gee, they act just like wild animals...
* They've never offered to harm the other animals, but we haven't had any feral or stray cats and kittens this summer so I do wonder...
* And finally, we are eventually putting the house on the market, and I rather doubt new owners would welcome these many nightly muraders.

I've been tapering off the past week, and the numbers are going down. They'll come in waves, check it out, either drink from the koi pond or lounge on the lawn furniture, and amble off. The babies still play on the skylight. Occasionally they find a treat of old fruit or bread (old habits die hard), but they're perfectly fine. I needed to stop while the summer offered plentiful eating, unlike the fall or winter. If I see them looking awful in the winter you can be sure I won't let them starve...

10 comments:

Cheeseboy said...

Well, it is for the best. Hopefull the fox still comes around? But I guess you can't feed the one without the other, eh?

The Urban Cowboy said...

Wow, 40! That's a lot of coons. Since you are moving, it is best to ween them off the teet. I'm imagining a mad house with 40 of them running around doing the 'wild thang'. :)

Eclipsed said...

Wait are you talking about real raccoons? I don't think I've ever even seen one in real life. Although I have seen some subway rats that were the size of raccoons. Maybe I should plan a trip out to the countryside

Stopping by from SITS

wendy said...

Being the animal lover you seem to be.....it was probably a hard decision for you.
sometimes I guess we just have to let nature take care of itself.
You are putting your house on the market?? what about you wild horse santuary??

Tony Single said...

Wow, your house is on the market, eh? I tell you what, if I win the lottery I'm gonna be SO there! :P

You display an uncommon common sense in what you're doing with the coons. It really isn't a good thing for wild animals to get too used to being around humans and their human habitats. I don't imagine that many folks would be as welcoming to the coons as you have been. :)

Chris said...

I know it's hard for you, but probably for the best. Now you can focus more on the turtles.

Doris Sturm said...

You're moving? What about the horses?

I am thinking the same about the stray/feral cat population here...us feeding them makes them lazy and just lounge around waiting for one meal to the next instead of looking on their own. When I move, who will feed them? Not all neighbors do, in fact, on this side here, it's just I and one other neighbor (out of 36 units) and it is becoming a financial buren to us. When we were gone for a while (and nobody fed them) they stopped coming around and finding food elsewhere and it was a nice and much needed relief. I can barely afford my own pets and often go without so the animals have what they need and feeding them just encourages more and more to come around for handouts...plus neighboring people let their big hunting dogs out that are attracted to the cat feeding station to scarf down the cat food plus kill the cats...we had several murdered by those dogs and if they weren't all here congregating in a "false" sense of security, some of them may have still be alive.

You're doomed if you do and you're doomed if you don't!

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e said...

That was surely a difficult but necessary step. I'm sorry they've been so destructive...

Where will you go once the house is sold and what about the mustangs?

Ms. Anthropy said...

I'm curious about the mustangs, too.