Skunks are not good climbers, so when a skunk falls down into a window well, it can get stressed, dehydrated, panicked and then spray. You may not even be aware you had a skunk in the window well, but when the smell hits you, you’ll figure out soon enough that you have a skunk problem.
A woman I know works at a hospital and often works the night shift. She came home in the early hours one morning, stepped out of her car, and gagged on the smell of a fresh skunk spray. Skunks have poor eyesight, which is ironic since they are nocturnal, and one had fallen down into a window well leading to the half-finished basement. Unfortunately, her teenage son had been painting the walls of his soon-to-be-bedroom the evening before and had left the window slightly ajar. It wasn’t wide enough to let in the animal, but the sharp, musky, oily scent of the spray got in.
My friend initially thought a skunk had gotten inside the house or was somehow in the basement, so they were afraid to go and investigate. For hours, they tried to combat the stench, not realizing they had a skunk trapped in the window well. Finally, the animal was discovered, and they figured out what must have happened. But, what to do? They wanted to help the skunk in the window well, but they didn’t want to risk getting hurt or sprayed. Of course, they were concerned the skunk might have rabies, too, so there was no way they were going to approach it to try to help get it out of there.
My friend lowered a spare piece of wood they had lying around in the garage, hoping the animal would be able to climb out at an angle. They had a bad moment when they were trying this, because the animal was skittish and panicky and turned around, lifting its tail as if to spray again. Everyone ran for cover and the plan was abandoned. After a while the skunk tried to walk up the lumber, but the angle was still too steep and it couldn’t make it out on its own.
Exhausted, after working all night and coming home to a stench and a mess and a wild animal in the window well, my friend finally gave up trying to handle the problem on her own. She made a call to Allstate Animal Control, and they sent someone out to take a look at the problem and remove the skunk. They even knew how to get the skunk smell out of the basement. Of course, my friend got window well covers installed, and now so do I. I don’t want to ever go through that kind of drama.