Maryland’s Wild Horses Will Steal Your Junk Food

Visitors to Assateague Island National Seashore in Maryland might be surprised to find that the 114 wild horses that inhabit the beachfront park have full run of the place. Unfortunately, increased interaction between man and beast is causing problems with the horses’ diet and behavior. These horses are not afraid of people, and it’s not unusual for one or more of them to approach picnic tables and help themselves. They particularly have a taste for junk food — especially hot dogs and potato chips — but they’ll steal raw meat, dog food, fruit salads, and anything else that happens to be available. The problem is, when they want their grub, they can become aggressive. They block roadways, poke their heads into cars, and even use their teeth to unzip tents. To address this issue, park officials recently instituted new rules: Visitors must secure food and trash, and remain at least 10 feet away from the horses. Violators risk a $100 dollar fine — and maybe a swift kick.