An elderly man has been feeding a massive pack of orphaned raccoons and posting videos of the encounters on YouTube.
The man, James Blackwood, calls himself a “raccoon whisperer.” He lives in Canada’s Nova Scotia province.
Blackwood started taking care of the raccoons after his wife died of cancer. He says that when she was on her deathbed, she begged him to continue her project of caring for the animals.
He claims the raccoons are treated for disease, ticks, fleas and worms.
When Blackwood joins the raccoons with a pail of food, they can be seen climbing up his leg to get at it. He appears nonplussed by the pack of hungry wild animals surrounding him.
The raccoons in the video look plenty plump. They are fed peanut butter sandwiches and hot dogs, among other food items.
Raccoons are common in the rural areas of Nova Scotia. They are at their most active during the nighttime. They spend the daytime in hollow trees, dense vegetation, rock crevices, old buildings, barns, chimneys or other emptied-out spots.
The animals can eat a wide variety of food sources. Those include insects, frogs, bird eggs, fruit, garden vegetables (especially corn) and human garbage.
Raccoons are legally protected in Nova Scotia. People who want to trap or shoot them have to get a permit from the local Natural Resources office.
Raccoons in Attic, an American raccoon removal service, says that while the animals are cute, it’s actually not very nice to feed them over the long term.
When the feeding eventually stops, they will not have enough food to live on anymore. And they will have grown accustomed to human contact. They will be much more likely to nest in human houses and go after humans for food, resulting in problematic encounters.