The Dangers of Feeding Raccoons and Skunks

The Dangers of Feeding Raccoons and Skunks

My Aunt Jan is a kind-hearted soul who never met an animal she didn’t immediately fall in love with. When she told me she had been feeding the raccoons that had seen scampering across her backyard, I certainly wasn’t surprised.

You’d think Aunt Jan would have learned her lesson after a previous incident when feeding skunks on her property eventually led to Jennie, her cherished eight-year-old Chihuahua, getting an unwelcome dose of skunk spray. Unfortunately, I knew it was only a matter of time before she was leaving food scraps out for hungry critters again.

What Are the Risks Associated with Feeding These Wild Animals?

Skunks and raccoons are wild animals looking for a readily available food source, and feeding them will encourage them to keep coming back for more. While you might think you are doing a good thing by feeding skunks or raccoons, you could actually be jeopardizing the health of your family and your pets.

As an animal control professional, I’ve encountered many situations in which humans have received a nasty bite when attempting to feed an animal by hand. Skunks and rabbits sometimes carry rabies, which can be transmitted via biting, and their urine and feces can also spread disease. Raccoon secretions, for instance, can transmit leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that can cause flu-like symptoms or even kidney and liver problems. While a skunk’s spray isn’t necessarily dangerous, it can cause eye irritation and even temporary blindness.

The bottom line: you don’t want to feed them and encourage them onto your property.

Use Repellents to Keep Raccoons and Skunks Away

Rather than feeding skunks and raccoons and exposing your loved ones to the risk of injury or illness, the smarter course of action is to deter them from entering your property. I’ve discovered that Havahart® Spray Away™ is an excellent product for keeping away raccoons, skunks and just about anything else with four legs.

Just connect this motion-activated sprinkler to your water supply. When an animal approaches, the infrared proximity sensor detects the motion and unleashes several jets of water. The unexpected bursts and the “tic-tic-tic” sound the device makes upon activation frightens away even the most daring critters, and it keeps them from coming back.

No More Skunks and Raccoons at Aunt Jan’s House!

Once I assured Aunt Jan that Havahart® Spray Away™ would in no way harm any animal, she let me install it in her yard, and her critter visits were soon a thing of the past. She’s no longer feeding skunks or raccoons; instead, she’s giving all her leftovers to Jennie. Now, if only Havahart™ could help with a diet plan for a chunky Chihuahua …