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La Presse video about the raccoons at the Mount Royal lookout: it might become a ticketable offense to feed them, but it isn’t yet.
walkerp, Kate, jeather, and 7 others are discussing. Toggle Comments
The sign that’s up there now says there is a $1000.00 fine for feeding them. http://www.flickr.com/photos/drpenfield/6351707514/sizes/l/
Did you understand the video? They say that for the moment, people caught feeding raccoons may be given warnings by the Amis de la montagne folks, but if that doesn’t work, the cops may hand out $100 tickets. Not $1000, no matter what the sign says.
Actually, one of the arguments doesn’t hold up, which is that they’re wild animals and shouldn’t get used to people feeding them. People are not going to migrate away from Mount Royal anytime soon.
Having lived in Toronto where raccoons are a serious problem, I know that the main reason you don’t want to feed them is that they will scavenge more aggressively if they know there’s food to be had – getting into garbage cans, finding ways into buildings. Up on the mountain it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but you only have to see how aggressive park squirrels are about food to realize a 30 lb. raccoon trying to steal tourists’ handbags and digging around the trash and outbuildings could be a real nuisance.
Those signs stating “amende jusqu’à ###$” are usually for multiple offenders. So, a third offense might get a 1000$ fine, for example (when they actually start ticketing peopled, that is).
I think there is something similar in the metro where holding the doors has a fine of up to 500$, but a first offense is 150$. Showing the bigger number is obviously a better deterrent.
That one that jumped on the seated woman was quite overweight, and probably has diabetes as a result of eating junk food.
If you really want to do something about environmental degradation, put up signs warning bees not to pollinate human food supplies.
Marc, I was a little freaked by that. I’ve been up there and had some young raccoons running over my toes (in sandals) and that was enough. They have claws. It can’t have been pleasant to have that big one climbing on her in that loose fabric garment.
And yes, they do look fat and sassy, don’t they? Maybe the city ought to scoop up a bunch of them and truck them out to Mont St-Hilaire or some such place for a slimming cure.
The Vancouver solution: rabies.
Gah, no. The city actually distributes rabies vaccine to our raccoons in baits. As an island we’re mostly free of that risk and a good thing, too.
I was in Vancouver when rabies swept through the raccoon population. The following year there was an explosion in the rat population, so bad that the public health board ordered people to rip up their vegetable gardens (much to my dismay).
The year after that, if you went for a walk in the woods more than once a week you’d spot a coyote or three.
@ qatzelok: Here’s something that would be more effective and would certainly please you: a worldwide law for mandatory sterilization of all humans. Then in 100 or so years, there will be no people left.
Still, there has been improvement. Those signs are only 1 year old. Before, they used to put up cardboard signs and people would rip them down. Idiots were coming up with bags of dog food and breaking them open on the ground so they could take pictures (I guess). I think the most effective thing is that part on the sign that says they carry disease. It’s not actually true, but the same kind of uneducated people who think that it’s fun to feed them will also be totally freaked out by fear of disease.
I’d be curious to know if the population has gone down. I haven’t been up there in the early evening this year yet, so I have no anecdotal evidence.
They do carry disease.
And a bag of cat food will distract raccoons from rummaging through your kitchen for people food when they get in your place.
Again, speaking of my Toronto experiences, when there is a lot of food readily available the raccoon population goes up. When there isn’t enough food in one area, they spread out. I think this is what the city is trying to prevent. Also, high density raccoon populations to get distemper. I have had the displeasure of listening to raccoons screaming for hours as they roll around in their death agonies, on several occasions – like I said, Toronto has a LOT of raccoons. It’s not exactly touristique.
Nice signs… in French only. Lots of tourists…. who won’t understand them.
Well you know, ignorance of the law is no excuse etc., etc. …and to be fair it’s a lot less worrisome than French-only highway signs where lives are at risk. Pick your battles, as they say.
@jeather, so are you saying they should be bringing bags of cat food up to Mont-Royal? I generally find a broom a lot more effective at getting them out of my place.
And what is it with Torontonians and raccoons? Vancouver has way more raccoons, plus skunks and coyotes and you never seem to hear the constant wailing about what a problem they are coming from that city.
I’m not speaking as a “Torontonian”, I only lived there 5 years. In that time I did have raccoons in the walls and attic of my apartment, and tehy caused 1000s in damage (including the time one fell through the ceiling of the janitor closet and turned on the taps of the sink and flooded the building). But yeah, way to be dismissive, sorry Toronto doesn’t have bears. FYI there are skunks and coyotes in Toronto too. Vancouver certainly has Toronto beat for banana slugs and junkies, though.
Also, according to David Suzuki Toronto is “raccoon capital of the world”. http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/natureofthings/2011/raccoonnation/ I know most people think of Toronto as acres of pavement and concrete but with my own eyes I’ve seen a deer at Yonge and Bloor, a fox on the Danforth, opossums in a Roncesvalles garage, rabbits & coyotes in High Park, skunks in the Gay Village, and yes, raccoons everywhere… people forget (or don’t know about) Toronto’s semi-wild spaces like High Park, the Don Valley, Riverdale Gorge, the Beaches, Scarborough Bluffs & Toronto Islands – these are pretty substantial green belts that support a lot of wildlife.
No, no need to give the raccoons extra food. They seem to be doing just perfectly fine on their own. Like when they get into my apartment and eat all my cat food (which was so much more appealing than my human food that they didn’t go through my cupboards, a huge bonus. Well, comparatively).
I think raccoons are really cute pests, but they are pests.
Raccoons are too smart to be comfortable urban denizens, it seems. I don’t know what the overall answer is – maybe there’s some way the city can distribute raccoon contraception on the mountain in addition to the rabies vaccine?
Yes, I saw that documentary about raccoons. It was pretty informative. I understand that it is the Don Valley that gives so much access to wildlife to Toronto, which is pretty cool.
As we slowly destroy the natural world, only those species that can survive in our space are the ones that are going to thrive, so we’ll be seeing continued increase populations of all those animals (raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes). They thrive on our garbage and since we continue to produce more and more garbage, there will be more and more of those critters in our cities. Better get used to them!
When I lived in California, I had regular visits from a couple of raccoons going for the catfood as well. My cat was blind and would just cower in fear. Usually they ran out when I caught them in the act but one time one of them, the alarmingly large one, wouldn’t leave at first. Fortunately, I was pretty drunk at the time (it was like 3 in the morning) and thus was full of courage and I beat him out the cat door with a broom. Despite my savagery, he was really in no hurry to leave. Almost arrogant! Once these animals gain sentience and band together, we may be in real trouble.
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