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Confession of a former raccoon feeder

www.wdfw.wa.gov

If I had it to do over, I wouldn't feed the raccoons.

This was more than 10 years ago, back in a previous home in a different part of Spokane. The raccoons came to our ground-level balcony facing a woodsy area. And I'll admit it. They got treats.

Donuts, grapes, peanuts — you name it.

I know. It's a bad idea to feed wild animals.

But I had always thought of raccoons as fairly urbanized — streetwise omnivores, if you will. I suspect many of them have already lost their fear of us.

In any event, I was not trying to turn them into screwed-up 1960 Yellowstone grizzlies feeding at the dump. I just thought maybe getting a snack from me might keep them from crossing a few busy streets in the dark.

Plus, they were a delight to watch.

Still, I wouldn't do it again. (Though, in our defense, the first raccoon actually chowed down on some food that had been put out for magpies.)

I still think about those masked visitors, and hope the descendants of the ones we knew are keeping out of trouble.

And sometimes on garbage night, which is tonight, I'll stare at some food item getting tossed. And I'll wonder.

Would the raccs have liked this?

I think I know the answer.


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Features writer Paul Turner is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review in the Features department. He writes "The Slice" column, which appears six times a week and produces general features stories for the Today section.

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