In the video below I showed you how responsive wild fish are to fish flakes. I also mentioned that feeding bread to fish, turtles and birds is bad for them and for the environment. In this blog post I will explain why.
Bread is a great source of carbohydrates but it offers little nutritional value for fish, turtles and birds. Feeding them bread is like feeding them candy. It will eventually lead to excessive weight gain and malnutrition in addition to other health problems.
Of course in moderation it won’t have long term effects but it’s very difficult to moderate the diet of a wild animal. In addition to the health problems, here are some other issues that it causes that you may have never even thought of:
Malnutrition of Babies
Just like us, fish, birds and turtles can get full on bread. Once they eat the bread, they will not be hungry and try to forage for food that they would normally eat that will get them the nutrients that they need. If these baby fish, turtles and birds only eat bread while they are growing, they will likely not live for very long due to malnutrition.
If the fish, turtles and birds know that there is a food source that is abundant, they will make that area their home. This can make the ecosystem in these areas over run by the most dominant species. And since this species is being fed human altered food, they can become a diseased group of species which if they leave and reproduce with the same species in other areas, could have a very negative effect on that species as a whole.
Un eaten bread specifically can lead to unwanted algae growth. This algae tends to over grow everything else in the area which can result in a lack of a natural food source for the animals that are living in that area. We have seen the negative effects of different types of invasive algae that are caused by excess nutrients in a body of water and they are not pretty. Moldy bread can also cause lung issues for birds and other mammals in the area.
When birds consume bread it causes them to defecate often. The increase in waste, especially from birds that hang out near water, eventually will create a breeding ground for disease. For fish, the bread will expand in their intestinal tract and cause them to become constipated. If they are unable to pass the bread, they will become impacted and pass away from it.
When an animal is dependent on a human for their source of food, they get lazy. They won’t go back to eating natural food, they will look for people to feed them. This can upset the ecosystem where they live. For example certain species of plants can over grow the area if the fish, turtles and birds are not consuming them at their natural rate.
So in short, if you absolutely want to feed any wild animal, make sure that you are feeding them something of nutritional value. Make sure that they eat all of it and don’t leave excess behind. Pace yourself and don’t just throw a whole bunch of food to them. I totally get that it’s a cool experience to interact with a wild animal and see them up close. But we as a species need to be more mindful of how our actions are affecting our environment. This is just one simple way to do that.