Many years ago, I was 13, and hiking in the Grand Canyon with my family. We paused near a French family: a mother, a father, and a boy – a cute boy. He was feeding trail-mix to a chipmunk, despite the numerous, multi-lingual signs to the contrary. Luckily, my mother is fluent in French, and was willing to explain the problem to him.
“Excusez-moi,” she said. “You are not allowed to feed the animals.”
The boy looked at her like she was crazy. “Pouquoi?” He asked, empty hand dangling in the air.
“Well, feeding the animals can make them sick. Also, it makes them not afraid of humans. They can become aggressive.”
“Agressifs?’ he asked – just as the chipmunk lashed out and bit a chunk out of his hand.
There was shouting, and shooing, and bleeding… and my mother, explaining to his mother how to get rabies shots.
The moral here? Don’t feed the animals, or assume cute French boys are intelligent.