• A baby wild animal’s best chance for survival is with its mother.
  • Wild animals are born to live their lives in the wild, not in a house or a cage.
  • The best option for a wild animal is to learn normal behaviors from their own species in their natural environment. An animal that has become habituated to humans cannot be returned to the wild.
  • Once they grow, wild animals are active and independent, which can make them dangerous and destructive.
  • Wild animals can be highly stressed by sights, sounds and smells from people and pets, especially when in close proximity. Stress can cause health problems and even death.
  • Wild animals can carry diseases and parasites, some of which are transmissible to people or pets. Some diseases, like rabies, can cause serious health problems.
  • Wild animals have complex nutritional needs not easily met in captivity. Nutritional deficiencies can leave an animal deformed for life.

It is illegal to possess, own, control, restrain, or keep any wild animal. The purpose of the law is to protect wild animal populations and to protect people from disease and injury.

You can help!

• Please STOP feeding the wildlife. Feeding is more harmful than helpful.
• View wildlife from a distance and take binoculars to see animals up close.
• Plan your visit for early morning or evening hours when animals are most active.
• Share this knowledge with others.

Download our Do Not Feed flyer PDF

Additional Resources

For additional resources on keeping wildlife wild, visit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Ohio Department of Natural Resources logo
Ohio Department of Natural Resources - Division of Wildlife logo

Are you harming the animals?

Every day many well-intentioned people harm wild animals by feeding them. This constant interference affects both the animals and people in negative ways.

Feeding wildlife causes:

• Poor nutrition
• Spread of disease
• Loss of instincts
• Polluted water
• Property damage
• Rabies and diseases in humans

Poor nutrition

Bread and other processed foods lack the nutrients needed for good health. Visible symptoms of poor nutrition and advanced stages of starvation are often seen at artificial feeding sites. Young ducks and geese raised on bread can grow deformed wings and develop brittle bones.

Spread of disease

Feeding encourages large numbers of ducks and geese to gather in small areas. Overcrowding promotes the spread of life-threatening diseases and moldy bread can be fatal to birds.

Loss of instincts

Ducks and geese that are fed by humans resist their natural instincts to migrate. Many are unable to survive the cold winters. They also lose their fear of humans and become aggressive.

Polluted water

What goes in must come out! Large amounts of bird droppings and the uneaten bread change nutrient levels in the water which can kill fish.

Property damage

Large numbers of ducks and geese cause damage to parks, golf courses, and residential lawns by grazing, trampling, and defecating on the grass.

Rabies and diseases in humans

Though raccoons, squirrels, and chipmunks look cute and cuddly—they can bite! Any wound caused by a wild animal, even a scratch, creates a risk of disease in humans, such as rabies or parasites.