An elderly woman who has developed a huge following — in the form of deer — has gone viral on TikTok both for her similarity to a “retired Disney princess” and her controversial behavior (i.e. feeding wildlife).
In the TikTok video (shown below), the grandmother of TikToker Erika (@erikamichelle9) can be seen feeding a huge herd of deer in her yard. Erika calls her grandmother “Snow White” since Snow White is known for her kinship with wildlife (as are all Disney princesses or Disney heroines, really).
Some TikTok users were pleased to see the video about deer feeding and focused on the Disney princess element of the footage — but others were aware of the very real dangers that wildlife face when people feed them supplemental food.
“This is so cute,” one TikTok user began, “but you’re like really not supposed to do this”.
Deer (whether they’re mule deer, white-tailed deer, Chinese water deer, or any other species of wild deer) are particularly vulnerable to people’s attempts to make them ‘pets’, because people try to feed deer ‘healthy’ foods like corn which can wreak havoc on their health and genuinely endanger their lives.
One TikTok user pointed out that their own relative used to do this, and “the rangers would get so mad” — and rightly so! Newsweek actually spoke to the USDA (the United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services) after seeing this video, and it was clear from the interview that feeding wildlife is a no-no.
As the USDA representative put it, “one of the biggest issues with humans feeding wildlife is that it encourages the animals to associate humans with food, tempting them out of their natural environment and into the path of humans.”
You don’t have to be a Disney princess to know that animals are often mistreated by people, not to mention hit by cars!
Relying on humans for food also means that the deer will become less skilled when it comes to actually providing for themselves. In addition, stagnant water or food sources are “prone to growing and/or harboring mold, toxins, bacteria and other pathogens that can cause illness in wildlife.”
My Grandma is literally Snow White 😂 Wait until the end!! #SupperTime #snowwhite #grandmasoftiktok #ohdeer #fyp #foryou #foryoupage
The USDA representative was not done with their critique of this Disney princess’s deer feeding habit. “Encouraging animals to gather together in large groups increases the risk of disease transmission between wildlife, domestic animals, and humans” as well!
“Deer and other wildlife do not need assistance from people,” the USDA representative said. “In order to keep our wildlife wild, it’s important that we let them fend for themselves, which they are naturally designed to do, and ensures a healthy and balanced population.”
Yes, Snow White does this — but apparently, not even this adorable grandma should be feeding the wildlife like a Disney princess! Did you know about the many reasons why feeding wildlife is not actually the right thing to do, no matter how cute deer and other wildlife might seem (and no matter how fun Disney princesses make supplemental feeding look)?