Wildlife sometimes causes problems for residents. Unfortunately the City of Hopkins does not have the resources to deal with wild animals.
For information about dealing with wild animals in Minnesota, read Living with Wildlife from the Department of Natural Resources. For complaints involving nuisance wildlife, consult a pest control agency or wildlife management service (listed in the Yellow Pages)
Feeding Wild Animals
Many people enjoy feeding wildlife because it allows them to have closer contact with these animals. Often, they think they are helping the animals to survive, especially in an urban environment. They could not be more incorrect. Wild animals that are in your neighborhood have survived because there is available food, water, and shelter. Most urban wildlife eat a variety of vegetation and small vertebrates (such as mice) which are plentiful even in the most settled residential neighborhoods.
If an animal is in your neighborhood, you can rest assured that there is plenty of food available, or the animal would simply not be living there. While feeding the animals can be fun for humans, it is usually detrimental for the animals, and will harm them more than it helps them.
When wild animals begin to depend on humans for food, their foraging skills may be diminished. When young wild animals are taught to depend on humans for food, they may become less experienced at foraging and consequently less likely to survive.
Fed by Humans
Wild animals that are used to being fed by humans commonly lose their fear of people. Wild animals do not usually discriminate between one human and another and will often start pestering other neighbors. They may also cause damage to homes and property because they expect to be fed and have lost their fear of people.
Animal Health Problems from Food
The food fed to animals by humans is inadequate nutritionally and can cause serious health problems for the animals, especially when they are young and still developing. Just like humans, most urban animals need a variety of foods in their diet, and if they fill up on "junk" food, they will not get the nutrients they need to stay healthy.
Animals (like humans!) are opportunistic and will go for the most convenient food source available. When food is readily available, animals will gather in abnormally large numbers. This means that if one animal in the group has an illness or disease, it can spread throughout the group. Many wild animals do not interact with others of their own species except during mating season and when raising their young.
This is one way to limit diseases among a wild population. By gathering these animals together in unnatural groups, these diseases can spread much more quickly and can destroy a large number of animals.
Reproduction rates may also be affected when an artificial food source is readily available. In the wild, the number of animals being born is often directly related to the amount of natural food available. The number of animals surviving will also depend on how much food is available.
This is nature's way of keeping a balance and making sure there are not too many animals in one area. When an unnatural food supply becomes available, animals may produce more young and soon there may be more animals living in the area than what the natural food sources can support. If that food source is no longer available, animals may starve to death.
Feeding migratory animals such as ducks, geese, and some passerines such as hummingbirds can interfere with the animal's awareness of seasonal changes in natural food supplies which tell the animal that it is time to migrate.
This has been a large problem with Canada geese in some parts of the country, including Washington. Human food sources are so plentiful that some Canada geese no longer migrate but continue to reproduce to the point where they have been removed or killed because they have become such a nuisance.