Small Animal, Big Smell

Having baby skunks in our yard was both delightful and terrible at the same time. Maybe not necessarily at the same time, actually.  At first it was just wonderful! I am an animal lover so seeing those tiny little tails wiggling across the grass in my lawn melted my heart immediately.  I grabbed my three daughters and brought them to the living room to show them the small skunks.  We tried to find the mother (from inside the house of course) but she didn’t seem to be anywhere in sight.  This is the part where these little, adorable baby skunks get terrible.

My husband had already left for work so it was up to me and the girls to figure out just what to do with the baby skunks in the yard.    My youngest daughter, my six year old, asked me if we could go play with them.  I tried to tell her no but in the back of my mind I could almost recall the fact that baby skunks don’t spray until they get older.  The animal lover in me couldn’t resist.  We carefully made our way outside towards the babies that were rolling around in the grass.  With our noses up in the air, we tried to make out any skunk smell to see if they in fact, couldn’t spray.  Unable to smell anything, we sat down and began to pet, hold, and play with the small skunks.

Well, when my husband Rick got home that afternoon, he couldn’t believe what he saw, or smelled for that matter.  According to him there was a green mist hanging around our entire property and the place reeked so badly that he was tearing up in the car sitting in the driveway!  Well it turns out that baby skunks are born with the scent glands that allow them to spray and my daughters and I all had a Specific Anosmia for n-butyl mercaptan, or the stuff that makes skunks smell.  Not being able to smell the skunk spray was both a blessing and a curse because we didn’t know when it was gone!  My husband says it took two months before the smell was completely eradicated, but he still claims he can smell the skunk sometimes (he’s nicknamed me Pepé Le Pew).  The point to this story is that no matter what you’ve heard, baby skunks DO spray, no matter how young they are.  So even if your animal loving heart begs you to, whatever you do, do not play with any baby skunks you find in your yard.

Ghost Raccoons

For about a year we have been hearing raccoons in our chimney.  Of course we didn’t know it was raccoons in the chimney, if we did it would have been much easier to solve.  What actually happened was my darling 5 year-old daughter, Lydia, could hear noises coming from her closet (that backs up to the chimney).  I can’t even count how many nights she ran into my room sobbing, terrified of the monsters in her closet.  It was kind of my fault, she only connected the sounds to monsters after I let her watch Monsters Inc. Before that, she thought it was Santa’s elves making sure she was being nice.

The problem was that whenever she heard sounds, I would go into her room, check the closet, and not hear anything.  At first I played along and told her I would stand watch for the monsters until she fell asleep, but that only lasted for about a month.  After that I told her to stop playing silly games and to go back to bed, monsters didn’t exist (I know I’m a horrible mom but there are only so many hours of sleep you can lose watching for imaginary things!).  What I think is odd is that I didn’t hear the raccoons in the chimney once during that month, I didn’t hear them at all until about two weeks ago!

My encounter with the “monsters”, was much less terrifying for me than poor Lydia.  I was putting her laundry away while she was at school and my husband was at work, and I heard small chirping sounds coming from behind the wall.  I pressed my ear to it but couldn’t hear anything.  That was until I tucked Liddy in for bed that night and heard them again, this time coupled with loud scratching sounds.  When I told Glenn, my husband, he went out with a camera and threaded it down through a hole in the roof that used to be a chimney.  Sure enough there they were, five baby raccoons in the chimney.

After calling a local wildlife specialist, he confirmed what we saw.  A mother and her five kits had taken up residence in the old chimney that had been closed off for years.  He also helped us remove them from the chimney and clean up any contaminants that were left behind.  My poor baby girl, for a year she thought there were monsters in her closet and it was only raccoons in the chimney!

Wet Bandits

I know this story sounds crazy, but when I heard my husband called the police at 2 a.m. reporting a raccoon home invasion, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing either.  We have lived in Park City, Utah for about 15 years now, and I can assure you that we are very familiar with the wildlife that lives here.  I’ve seen everything from mice to moose in my backyard and raccoons are very common. We haven’t had too much trouble with them, as long as we keep our garbage can locked shut and don’t leave our dog’s food outside that is.  They mostly just scavenge for food around the neighborhood, never bothering anyone too much.  At least they didn’t until 4 nights ago.

Now I have heard some stories about people who have had raccoons get into their attics and homes and cause some serious damage, but when you hear those things you always tell yourself “it could never happen to me, right?”  I don’t know, maybe it was just me, but I considered my home animal-proof. I was so wrong. My dog Bruno ate some pork that day (thanks to my youngest son Bridger) and was having some terrible stomach problems, if you get what I’m hinting at.  Instead of risking the mess he could make while we slept, I left the cover off of the doggy door so he could move freely outside to do his business.  My other dog, Emma, is so old that she can barely see let alone hear, she is not fit for duty anymore, but I left her to watch the downstairs anyway.  Those were my first mistakes.  My second mistake was that I didn’t put away the leftovers after dinner, I never liked salmon on the second day and figured leaving it out would give me an excuse to toss it out the next morning.  Between the fish, bread, butter, and pasta left on the counter; the open entrance to my home; and my two watch dogs being out of commission I set myself up for the raccoon home invasion.

Taking advantage of the open doggy door, two raccoons snuck into my house while we slept and went rampant.  They tore into the bread, ate the leftover fish (which I’m not too upset about), broke into our pantry, tore apart the cushions on the bar stools, and last but certainly the worst, they somehow turned on the faucet.  Well after two hours of this mass destruction, Bruno finally lumbered back inside and let us know what was happening.  My husband snuck downstairs, .22 in hand, ready to face the intruders only to find raccoons! After chasing them out of the house, he called the only number he could think of, 911, and reported our raccoon home invasion.

After going through and replacing all of the water damaged laminate in our kitchen, salvaging what food we could, and replacing the rest, we found our savings being stretched and our patience growing thin.  Nobody could have prepared us for this, no one! Truthfully, I’m thankful that it wasn’t worse than it was, but I want to warn you! If you know there are raccoons in your area, doggy doors can be dangerous, especially if you have food sitting out.  You don’t want to end up like we did, the victims of a raccoon home invasion.

Snakes, Snakes, and More Snakes

When a contractor came to fix the duct work under my house and told me there were snakes in the crawlspace, I think I fainted. I know it’s stereotypical, a woman afraid of snakes, but I have good reason! When I was little I was bit by what I believed to be a rattlesnake. As a six year old, of course I didn’t look for a rattle or any other identifying mark, but I was sure that it was a rattlesnake (it was the only snake besides a Boa Constrictor that I could name). My mom rushed me to the hospital to receive an antidote where I was informed that the snake bite came from a garter snake and all I needed was a tetanus shot and a good night’s rest. Well in my young mind I almost died because of the serpent, and I still haven’t forgotten that feeling.
Any who, having this brought to my attention was like being electrocuted, I was absolutely stunned! Of course, living in New Mexico where there are 46 different species of snakes, I should probably have been prepared for this; and I thought I was too, but some fears never die I guess. Luckily, the contractor didn’t find an actual snake in the crawlspace, but he said there were 20-30 snake skins scattered all over down there. He politely requested that I have someone do an inspection for any snakes currently living under there before he goes to finish his work. 7 of the 46 snakes are poisonous so I don’t blame him for not wanted to take any chances. Like Indiana Jones, we both know better than to mess with snakes.
I have been having nightmares lately just picturing a snake slithering up from underneath my bed and wrapping itself around my legs; a reoccurring dream I’ve had ever since the incident I had when I was six. That’s not the only thing keeping me awake! As you might have figured out, the duct work in my house is having problems (hence the contractor), somewhere something came loose and now when the air turns on, you can hear a distinct, loud hum and the occasional rattle and banging. These just add to the haunting dreams I’m having so this is my cry for help. HELP ME, THERE ARE SNAKES IN THE CRAWLSPACE UNDER MY HOUSE. I CAN’T DEAL WITH THEM ON MY OWN. SOS, MAYDAY, HELP!

Kitty Krisis

I have a wild cat problem and surprisingly enough it started a year ago. ONE WHOLE YEAR. I have left myself subject to this craziness for a year, and all because of my beautiful, 3 year old daughter. Last year, a neighbor’s cat helped a wild cat have 3 kittens (if you catch my drift), and my darling Ariana was ecstatic. She was really into Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat at the time and wouldn’t even listen to the reasons that we couldn’t let the kittens live in our backyard. Her big brown eyes were (and still are) my kryptonite, so I gave into her little fantasy and allowed the kittens and their mother to roam around our property.
Unfortunately, a couple of months ago the mom got hit by a car so now there are only the kittens left, but they’re hardly kittens now. At first it was alright having them around, they didn’t bother us too much, but now they went from cute cats, to absolutely untamable monsters! I had the local animal control pick them up, neuter them, and bring them back so that I won’t have more cats wandering around, but now I wish I had let them keep them! They pee on everything and poo everywhere, not to mention that they sleep all over my outdoor furniture and cover the cushions with hair. They’ve gotten mean too! They hiss at Ari and I whenever we walk outside! I should have made the neighbor take care of them but no, now I have to deal with this wild cat problem!
This is almost a plea for help, I need someone who can remove the cats and pretend like I didn’t hire them so my daughter doesn’t hate me. I can’t stand the smell of them anymore and I’m so scared that Ariana will go outside and one will attack her. She has such a big heart that she would try and get close to them if I didn’t watch her. Please get rid of these cats! I know that I was irresponsible and this wild cat problem is MY problem, but I’m begging for help!

Squirrely Business

I have a pair of squirrels in my attic, and it is just as annoying as it sounds. You know when I moved up here to attend Utah State, I was expecting the wildlife. I have relatives from here and some of my friends do too, they all tell crazy stories about moose in their backyards and a bobcat in a tree house. I was pretty excited about those things, I’ve always wanted to hunt but California wasn’t exactly the best place for that. Well I can tell you with 110% pure honesty, that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, deer are everywhere, but I’m more concerned about hitting them in the dark than I am curious to look for them to find bucks; and moose are hardly ever seen near my house. But you know what wildlife you don’t have to leave your living room to see? Yep you guessed it: squirrels.
I know that college students don’t normally live in homes, but when I found a place that was cheaper to rent than an apartment or dorm, I was in all the way. I’m living off of Top Ramen I can’t exactly afford Grade A housing here. So I guess I should specify, I rent the top floor of my Great Aunt’s house, so I should say that there are squirrels in OUR attic. Since I’m the renter, she should be the one to take care of the issue, but since she’s 73 I’ve taken the burden on my shoulders. She was nice enough to let me live here for hardly anything, the least I can do is help with the squirrels in the attic, but I don’t have much experience. Some kids on campus have advised that I shoot them, but like I said I’ve never been hunting and I’m not the best shot. I tried setting up some of the cage traps you get at Home Depot, but I ended up catching my Aunt’s cat that was trying to eat the peanut butter inside.
At this point, I’m a little desperate. My Aunt is willing to pay for the removal services but I’m going to help, and the easier on the wallet it is the sooner I’ll hire. I’ll probably hire anyone really, these squirrels are driving me nuts! They run around all night long and keep me awake, and sleep is vital in my busy schedule. Not to mention when I went to find an old scrapbook for my Aunt, I saw all the damage that has been done so far, and it is extensive. Insulation is coming out the walls, wires are hanging loose, and there were holes in just about every box up there. That’s not mentioning the poop scattered around and the nests that were visible; basically, it’s disgusting. Anyone that would be willing to get these squirrels out of the attic sounds like the right man for the job. We just need them gone so I can go back to getting all the sleep possible.


I’ve lived in Arkansas for a long time, since I was a kid actually, and I have never seen an armadillo in my yard until now. Occasionally I would see them on the side of the road or out in the woods, but I was shocked that there was one in my backyard! I noticed the holes around the yard and under my shed about a month ago, I thought it was my Chow Chow since she digs sometimes when it gets hot, but then they came back after I filled them in and one night I saw a small animal crawl under the shed. After that I was convinced that it was a raccoon but thought it odd because I had never had troubles in the past with them.
About a week or two ago I found the real culprit. I was out walking Zelda (my dog) early in the morning, around 6 o’clock, when we saw a big round rock digging in the yard. I unhooked the leash and let Zel chase it down, it wobbled away and I finally realized what was happening. I had an armadillo in my yard! A few days later I got an even bigger look at the picture when I spotted three small shapes following the larger one late at night out from under the shed. What I was dealing with was not one armadillo, but a family!
At this point I was stuck. While I was ruthless when I gamed online, I have a soft heart and didn’t want to hurt the animals. That’s when I found this website. I was excited to see that there were people that regularly dealt with things like this, it’s usually other animals but they do armadillos too! It was also good to know that the armadillos wouldn’t be hurt but released (I learned that after talking to a technician). I’ve already had an inspection done and tomorrow I’m getting help getting rid of the armadillos in my yard!

Baby + Skunk = No Good

Having a baby is stressful enough without having to deal with skunks under your porch. It makes things 10x worse actually, with the heightened sense of smell that comes from the extra estrogen in your system you might be able to imagine how the smell of skunk could get even more awful! Besides the fact that it just smells terrible, I’m also nauseous ALL THE TIME. I’m in my third trimester and this little tyrant crawling around in me loves nothing more than to make me sick (if I didn’t love him so much already it would make me mad). So imagine my distress when I woke up at 2 a.m. the other morning to the smell of skunk, a restless baby, and my gag reflex going off once the scent hit my nose!
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to the bathroom in time before a wave of vomit hit my mouth and since bending over isn’t my forte right now it was left to my husband to do the clean-up. Needless to say after that experience, he sent me to stay with my mother. This is her first grand baby so this skunk under my porch is freaking her out more than me. She’s worried that the smell could harm the baby or that it will attack me, I’m not concerned about the skunks affect to my health but I do want it gone as badly as she does. Ever since I got here she’s been fussing about my diet, how many times I’m going to the bathroom during the day, if my pants are too tight, and various other things a soon-to-be grandmother would fret over. It’s more exhausting than all the throwing up I do!
The joy of the staying with my mother dearest has so far proven short lived so I’ve been harassing Tony (my husband) at least twice a day about our situation. He’s tried to assure me that he’ll deal with the skunk under the porch and that the traps he bought and set will work soon. I’m not convinced and since my mom will barely let me out of bed I’ve been doing research on this thing (the skunk not the baby). There are professionals that do it for a living, who knew! I’m trying to get Tony to call one of them, I’m going to have this baby sooner than he’d like to admit and I want to go to my home, skunk free, sweet home once I pop him out.

Raccoons on the Loose

I’ve never had a problem with raccoons on my property, or at least until they started to be a problem, that is. I live in Colorado right near the forest and that itself warrants for a variety of wild animals to come around. I was okay with that for a long time, I mean I’ve lived here for 15 years and it’s never been an issue until now! About 6 months ago, two things happened in my life; I bought a new puppy and raccoons broke into the bird feed.
I know that raccoons are very resourceful creatures when it comes to finding food for them and their babies (and she has 3 pups), so I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. My husband was the one who actually discovered the raccoons on the property (we already knew that they lived nearby). He was leaving for work at around 4 o’clock in the morning when he caught two raccoon’s red handed and elbow deep in the bird feeder. He ushered them away, but caught their tails slinking into the bushes the next day. He’s been bothering me to call someone ever since, but after that it was about 2 more months before we had another run in with the raccoons.
Now the 3 babies are more like adults, bigger than my dog, and MUCH more active. My husband has started seeing them on an almost regular basis in the morning here and there, mostly minding their own business. We weren’t having problems with them breaking into any of the bird or dog food so we more or less let them be; until I left the lid on the dog food off. Well, not off exactly, usually we chain the top on so that the raccoons can’t get in, but I forgot. Now my husband is back on my case about calling in the Calvary so I’ve been looking around. I was recently in touch with a technician so hopefully I can get someone to relocate the raccoons off my property and somewhere far, far away.