The fact that wild animals live in and around the Babson College campus may come as a surprise to many urban-dwellers or international students who aren’t used to four seasons, trees, or forested areas. The Babson College campus is a great edge habitat for raccoons, squirrels, or other snack-hungry wild animals because it is the boundary of two different habitats: the wooded forest of Wellesley and the human development that makes up our school.
According to “Wildlife in the Suburbs” on the Wellesley government website, wild animals are coming “too close to people and begging for food”. When people feed wild animals, the creatures lose their fear of human interaction and soon expect handouts from everyone they meet. While playing with these adorable animals, people need to be more careful with it in case they cause legal problems unintentionally. In fact, the town of Wellesley imposes a fine of up to $200 for feeding any wildlife.
In the past, the town of Wellesley has had problems with encounters between household pets and wild animals. Animals coming from their forested habitat into the edge habitat of suburbia take advantage of food, trash, or small household pets (yikes!) that have been left outside by accident. Members of the Woodland dorm community, like myself, agree that there is no shortage of skunks and raccoons playing around near the dumpsters by the Woodland parking lot. When walking past dumpsters (where they like to hang out), they generally run away when approached.
Here are some suggestions to avoid attracting a raccoon into your dorm at night: Secure trash in raccoon-proof containers, which are easily found around campus. For the most part, the dumpsters have heavy lids that raccoons cannot open. Given this, don’t leave the lid open. Near the Woodland dorms of Babson College, behind Trim, and in many more locations, it could be helpful to put ammonia, bleach, or red pepper on the trash bag in the evening to deter animals at night. Don’t leave snacks or leftovers on the picnic tables or on the barbecue grill.
Overall, this is a great campus filled with wildlife, but it can quickly become overrun by hungry critters if we’re not careful. We’re lucky to share such a great space with our abundance of wildlife, but we need to be more careful in the way we are treating them.