06 October 2007

Raccoons of Mont Royal

Mont Royal, the large, relatively undeveloped hill in Montreal that gives the city its name, is apparently home to a large population of raccoons. Last nite at a lookout point we encountered a group of them that were being fed peanuts by the visitors.


People were rather careless with the raccoons to the point of attempting to hand feed them, while the raccoons were unnaturally tame. It was obvious that this practice has been going on for some time.


Although this was a good opportunity to take plenty of Procyon lotor photographs, I wish the city of Montreal took measures to prevent the feeding of raccoons in their parks.

I oppose to the direct feeding of wild animals. Wild animals need to stay wild; being so tame around humans usually and eventually spells trouble for them. Besides, in the case of raccoons, it is dangerous for humans to get that close them, for raccoons could be infected with rabies and could pass it to humans easily under such circumstances. If one Montrealer ever catches rabies from one of those tame raccoons, who will be the real victims? The person will suffer thru some rabies shots and hopefully survive, but the entire raccoon population will probably get exterminated to prevent further incidents of human carelessness.


xoggoth said...

Didn't realise you had rabies in the US.

Yeh, what you say on animals being independent makes sense BUT. We have a whole load of little welfare animals in our garden, squirrels, mice, foxes, pheasants, all sorts of other birds. Sort of like 'em.

xoggoth said...

And wasps. I always feed wasps with jam.


I don't mind feeding wild animals as long as the animals do not associate food with the presence of humans and do not take food directly from humans.

Gilles Arbour said...

Feeding raccoons on the Mont-Royal is a very old activity. Even a tourist attraction of sort. It would be a tough habit to stop.

But in my neighborhood, about 30 minutes East of Montreal we all used to feed the Chickadees in our hands in the winter. After years of explaining why it is not a good idea to do so, and after the chickadees became very insistent with people who were simply cross-skying, the habit has almost disappeared now and we enjoy looking at them at the feeders.

But it was really fun and cute to see them on our hands. I can understand how we all crave more contact with nature and feeding "wild" animals is one unfortunate way to get that connection.

Deniz Bevan said...

it's true, we all use bird feeders; but unless we have specially formulated feed purchased from a pet store, then the seeds and bread we are giving the birds may not provide a balanced diet for them. It's hard to judge, day by day, how much we are helping and how much we are hurting.
Mount Royal is actually quite developed; it looks wild in some parts, but it was all designed and organized as a park back in the 19th century...

gillesarbour said...

I saw this news today and it reminded me of your post about the Montreal raccoons and rabies.
Quebec uses bait to vaccinate raccoons to keep rabies out of Montreal
MONTREAL - Quebec wildlife officials will strategically place vaccine-laced cookies just outside Montreal to create an artificial barrier to keep a virulent strain of raccoon rabies out of the city.

The latest vaccination campaign begins at the end of May, when officials will bait areas frequented by raccoons and skunks to create a 10-kilometre-wide belt along the city's south shore.


Thanks for the link to the news article.

Anonymous said...

Look up Raccoon Roundworm on the internet and see how close you want to get to them after that.

Anonymous said...

I am terrified of raccoons they are wild animals and can attack at any moment for any reason. They can become aggitated easily which is dangerous! DO NOT FEED THEM!