Category Archives: Skunks

Anything to do with skunks

Skunk Control

I’m not quite sure how to go about asking my neighbor to call a skunk control company to get rid of the skunk in their yard.  I’m just waiting for evidence the skunk is in my yard, so I can call for skunk control myself without making my neighbor feel weird about it.

The neighbor behind us has a very large field.  They used to have horses on their lot, and then they farmed it a little, but now it’s just a big, weedy field.  They’re pretty good about keeping the weeds mowed down, and their field has been home to several feral cats that have been great at keeping the mouse population down.  We even feed a couple of their cats in addition to our own, because it’s nice to be worry-free about rodents like mice, rats or voles.  But, we started keeping our two cats inside and we stopped feeding the cats in their field once the skunk moved in.  Our neighbors love the wild animals around here, so they are refusing to get skunk control.

The neighbors have a very large shed at the end of their field closest to my yard, and a skunk has recently made its den underneath.  Even though it hasn’t sprayed close to our home, the smell is still overpowering, especially when the wind is blowing our way.  When my children are playing in our backyard on their swing set or in the sandbox, the wind shifts and we get a whiff of a musky wild smell.  We’ve gotten kind of used to it, but it’s not pleasant.  We used to be able to enjoy the smell of fresh-cut hay or the blooming cottonwood trees as we played catch or Frisbee in the backyard.  But, now, we end up spending more and more of our summer outside time at a park instead of our own property, because of the skunk smell.

If our neighbors had skunk control technicians come out to get rid of the skunk, we could go back to enjoying summer at home, we could start having barbeques again, my cats could roam freely in our yard without fear of being sprayed, and I wouldn’t constantly worry about my children around a skunk or its fleas or ticks or mites, or whatever else it might have.

I’ve talked with our neighbors and they’re actually quite proud of having a wild animal living back there.  Their home and backyard is far enough away from that shed that it doesn’t bother them, but it’s close enough to my yard and house that it continues to bother us.  Perhaps I’ll go back to putting cat food out, while keeping my children and cats inside for a few days.  Maybe that’ll be enough to lure the skunk into my yard, which would justify me calling for skunk control.  I won’t even have to tell the neighbors.  They’ll probably just assume the skunk moved on to someone else’s shed.

Get Rid of Skunks

I thought I was doing a good thing when I tried to get rid of the skunk out of the window well, but, instead, it acted like I was some huge, vicious, nasty dog that was attacking it.

My wife had decided this weekend was the perfect time to do spring cleaning, which meant a) no golf, b) a big honey-do list, and c) the kids would be bored out of their minds.  My wife does an amazing job with the house and the yard, and she works, and she takes care of all of us, so when she gets her mind set on spring-cleaning, I try to be as supportive as possible.  I tried to prepare the kids.  I gave them each a list of simple chores they could do, and when they were done, I presented them with a soccer ball and backyard goal.  My wife was happy they did their work, and she was happy they were happy, and she was happy that I was helping her out.

I was in the middle of a particularly grimy job in the garage when my little nine year-old girl came in screaming.  Her scream echoed in the nearly empty garage and pierced my ears, but then I finally understood the words she was hurling at me.  “Skunk!!  Daddy, there’s a skunk in the backyard!”

Skunk spray
A skunk getting ready to spray you.
(Artwork by Sharon Davis. Contact us for her contact info.)

I rushed out, calling out to the kids that they were to stay far away from it while I assessed the situation and figured out a way to get rid of the skunk.  Following my daughter’s directions, I saw the skunk trapped in one of the deep window wells.  I cursed myself.  Getting window well covers was actually on my honey-do list, and I was putting it off until the next day.  Woulda, coulda, shoulda, I told myself.

We get a lot of wild animals around our house, so I had already rigged up a make-shift animal catcher for emergencies.  My wife came out of the house, and stopped, eyes wide.  “Don’t you dare,” she warned.  “That thing’ll spray you, and the smell will get all over the house.”

“Trust me.  I know how to get rid of skunks,” I assured her, even though I knew I’d never done it before.  I actually managed to slip the leash around the skunk and pulled it free of the window well trap.  Thinking I had done my good deed for the day, I expected the skunk to give me a warm look thanking me before trundling off to freedom in the woods.  Instead, it bared its sharp teeth at me and growled, as if I had attacked it.  When it turned around and prepared to spray, my wife and kids retreated around to the other side of the house, while my wife grumbled something that sounded dangerously like, “I told you so.”  Well, some of us learn the hard way, I guess.

Skunk Control

“Dad!  Dad!  Dad!  Call Skunk Control right now!!  There’s a skunk in the house!”

I was working at home, because my wife was really sick today and was resting in our darkened bedroom with a cool washcloth over her eyes.  To be honest, I hadn’t really needed to stay home.  Our two girls are twelve and ten, and can pretty much take care of themselves, but they still needed someone to drive them to and from school, and I wanted to be available to get whatever my wife needed.  She rarely got sick.  In fact, the last time she was this sick was over three years ago.  But, I liked to really pamper her and take worries off her mind so that she could get well quickly.  She is the rock of our family, and we just don’t function very well without her.

So, when I heard my twelve year-old daughter, Kenzie, yelling about skunk control, I rushed right out of the home office.  “Shhhh!  Don’t wake your mom!  Now, show me what you’re talking about.”

My ten year old, Baylee, was holding her phone up, recording the whole thing.  “This is sooo cool!” she grinned.

“Dad.  It’s in the kitchen.  You have GOT to call skunk control right now.”

I started to walk towards the kitchen, my two pre-teen girls trailing behind me, alternating between squeaking with alarm, shushing each other, and giggling with excitement.  Ah, to be young again.

But, when I opened the kitchen door, it was skunk-free.  Kenzie jumped up into a nearby chair, squealing as softly as she could, “Where is it?  Where is it?”  Baylee just kept recording.

I picked up a broom and started walking from room to room.  Kenzie had jumped down from her perch to trail me, along with my video-recording Baylee.  There!  It huddled in the living room, tucked between the loveseat and side table.  I froze, unsure of what to do next, as Kenzie whispered, “Don’t scare it, Dad.  It’ll spray.”  That’s exactly what had been going through my mind.  If it sprayed in here, we would have to replace everything from the carpet to the furniture to the drapes.

The skunk caught sight of us, and decided it had enough.  It walked across the living room floor, bold and waddling its behind at us, as if to say it wasn’t worried about us at all.  The three of us followed at a distance, but I knew we’d all get sprayed if it decided it had to defend itself.  It was heading back towards the kitchen, so I urgently whispered to Kenzie that she needed to go the other way, back into the kitchen before it got there, and open up the door to the garage.  “Now!” I urged her.  She took off, threw the door open, and got out of the way just as the skunk walked into the garage.

“Baylee, give me your phone.”

“But, Dad, I’m still filming.”

“Baylee, give me the phone.  It’s time to call skunk control.”

As she did, my wife called down the stairs.  “Honey, what’s going on?”

“Nothing!” I yelled out, as I glared at my daughters, willing them to stay silent on the matter.  Skunk control would take care of this first, and then I’ll let my wife know.

Skunk Removal

I know, I know, if I’d taken the time to clean out the barn, I wouldn’t have to worry about skunk removal.  But, what’s done is done.  There, amongst the broken lawn mower, the old bag of dog food that I’d forgotten about, a couple of empty gas cans and all the random stuff we carted out of our newly remodeled home, lives a skunk.  It’s bigger than a poodle and fluffy, and it most definitely does not want to move out of my barn.

Usually, I take extra care to winterize our entire property.  As fall is ending and the cold weather sets in, I take care of everything, including giving the lawn a last good mow, placing tree stakes near all the trunks, cutting back the roses and cleaning out the barn before making sure the house is ready for the cold months ahead.

Things were a little different this last year.  Our last child graduated high school and then headed off to college.  We had the house to ourselves.  My wife was determined to remodel, and I think it had more to do with combating empty-nest syndrome than a desperate need to have a new master bath, but I was happy to comply.  College doesn’t come cheap, so we did most of the work ourselves, which made for an extremely busy fall.  It never occurred to me that skunk removal would be the consequence to ignoring my normal self-imposed duties.

But, here I am, standing in the doorway of my barn, dressed in a cheap hazmat-like suit purchased at the hardware store, armed with a net on the end of a long pole.  As the skunk turns and tries to burrow its way deeper into the debris littering the barn, I realize a net is probably not the best skunk removal tool.  I realize I am standing at a crossroads of choices – either press forward into the dark recesses of the barn chasing after this odorous animal, or back out gracefully and get a professional trapper who is experienced at skunk removal.  I’m a man, and I assume I can do it myself, so I press forward carefully.

In the dim light, I become aware of little brown pellets littering the floor, especially around the bag of forgotten dog food.  I realize the sorry state of my barn gave it a perfect place to hole up for the winter, and the dog food and rodents provided an excellent food source.

I stop, aware of a scrabbling noise on my right.  I can just make out the form of the skunk as it tries to squeeze itself further out of sight, and I approach carefully, stretching out my net.  Suddenly, the skunk whirls around and lifts its tail, and I realize I made the wrong choice trying to remove the skunk by myself.  But, by now, it is too late, and I can only hope the weak respirator I wear and the cheap paper covering I wear over my clothes will keep the worst of the skunk spray off of me as I run out of the barn.

Skunk Problems

Skunk
Skunk getting ready to spray.
(Artwork by Sharon Davis. Contact us for her contact info.)

She backed into the far corner, shuddering and quivering with fear, eyes wide but never blinking, she and her fellow hens terrified by this problem skunk.  The black and white furry creature started digging around her hen house several nights ago.  When the digging had stopped last night, she thought the nightmare was over.  She knew it was still in the area.  It was impossible to think otherwise after the spraying incident.  The dog had gotten too protective of his territory, barking and going crazy, and she guessed he’d gotten too close.  The smell had been overpowering, and the dog had whimpered all the rest of the night.  But, she and the other hens had kept quiet through it all.  They were just happy the digging had stopped for a while.

During the day, they had inspected the ground around their roost and knew the skunk was getting closer and closer to finding a way inside.  The claw marks were obvious, and its scat lay all around the yard.  They avoided approaching the house, because they knew the space under the wooden steps was a perfect place for a skunk den.  Each day, there was more garbage strewn around, and the man who took care of them seemed distressed over his vegetable garden.  At first, some of the hens had pecked around in the garden, feasting on the grubs and worms that were now closer to the surface, but they were soon chased off and now gathered closer to the hen house, eating the seed that was scattered for them.

And then tonight, the scratching and scraping had started up again, and she had correctly feared tonight would be the night the farmer’s skunk problemwould become their skunk problem.  Their protector, the dog, was locked up inside the house.  It seemed the farmer worried that he would be sprayed again, or worse, bitten.  The farmer didn’t want a chance of rabies or anything else infecting his dog.  So, the hens were locked up tight and then left to fend for themselves.

Sure enough, a loose plank was made looser until a black snout poked through.  The snout retreated and a paw came in, patting about and clawing further.  The hens were shrieking and clucking, but many wouldn’t leave their nests.  She huddled into the far corner with the others, hoping for a miracle, but expecting the worst.  Soon, the skunk worked its whole body into the hen house, and surveyed the space.  She hoped they had just made enough noise to wake the farmer in time.

The skunk walked over to the nests, and several of the more protective hens shrieked and flew off their nests in a flurry of feathers.  It snuffled and chuffed and then, just as it started toward an egg, the door burst open.  Hens, grateful for this unexpected exit, pushed and clucked their way out while the startled skunk ran back and forth, unsure which direction would carry it to safety.  Feeling trapped, it turned and lifted its tail.  All the chickens had fled and the farmer slammed the door shut just in time to barely contain the spray.  It was going to be a long night, but at least the hens were safe.  All she knew was the skunk as alone now in the henhouse, alone with all the eggs.

How To Get Rid of Skunks

skunks
A skunk and her babies playing outside their hole into a home.
(Artwork by Sharon Davis. Contact us for her contact info.)

A couple in Maryland want to know how to get rid of skunk smell.  They had planned a weekend getaway in their log cabin.  The cabin was a few hours away from their home, but up in the mountains where they could relax and enjoy some peace and quiet, and get back to nature.  Unfortunately, nature got there first.

After several hours of packing, and then a long drive to the cabin, they finally arrived, only to be chased back outside by a horrible smell.  It was unmistakable.  Skunk.  At the time, they didn’t know if the skunk was still in the property or if it had just gotten in there temporarily to root around for food.  Obviously, though, something had disturbed it and it had let off its noxious spray into the enclosed space.

They weren’t sure how to get rid of a skunk or its odor, so they called wildlife control specialists to come out and take a look the next day.  They spent the night in the car and waited for the professionals to come out to inspect the property before they went inside again.  Skunks can be a carrier of rabies, they can bite or scratch if provoked, and they can certainly spray again.  They did not want to risk any of that.  Let the professionals handle it!

It was eventually determined that the skunk had left, but they still had to deal with the damage and odor.  A search around the outside of the log cabin revealed the skunk had entered through a hole in the foundation.  It was unclear whether it had burrowed through the foundation itself, or if it had merely taken advantage of a hole made by a raccoon or other creature.  It had nested inside the cabin for a while, made free with the couple’s food stores in the kitchen, and had been disturbed enough at some point to spray its noxious odor.

The smell was horrific, even though it wasn’t fresh.  They searched through the cabin and found that most of their belongings stored within had to be thrown away.  The smell had ruined mattresses, clothes, rugs, towels.  They had to get a special cleaning company to come out to clean the cabin and get rid of the smell.  They started tallying up the damage to the structure itself, including the hole through the foundation.  The cost started stacking up.

Unfortunately, their insurance company denied the claim and refused to pay for the damages.  It was hard not to think of the “what if’s.”  What if they had learned how to keep skunks out?  What if they had checked in on the cabin more regularly?  Or, what if they had been home, ignorant to the hole in their foundation, when the skunk had come in?  Things might have been even worse.

Skunk Trapping

Momma skunk with her babies
A mother skunk with her babies.
(Artwork by Sharon Davis. Contact us for her contact info.)

From my perch up in the tallest tree, I can pretty much see everything that goes on around me on this property, and one of the most interesting things I’ve witnessed over the last few weeks was the owner’s attempt at skunk trapping.

As a bird, I’m not really that opposed to skunks myself.  They can’t really hurt me, as a raven, and if they spray some stupid dog or fox, I just fly away from the smell.  But, I could tell this skunk was really getting on this guy’s nerves over the last few weeks!

First, it made free to dig up in the guy’s vegetable garden as it hunted for bugs to eat.  Destroyed some of the crop and left a horrible mess.  Then, it decided to burrow under the guy’s front porch.  He was afraid he’d be sprayed if he surprised the skunk while walking out to his yard, and even I could see it was going to damage the concrete, making it sink down eventually.  One night, the skunk got hungry and toppled over the garbage can, munching on everything edible it could find.  The owner came out the next morning to find a horrible mess on the lawn.

What really sent the owner into a horrible rage was when the skunk got into the chicken house and ate up some of the eggs.  It even attacked one of the chickens.  At first, the owner thought maybe a fox was to blame, but when he figured out it was a skunk, he reached the end of his rope.

He went out and got himself a skunk trap, set it up in the vegetable garden, and caught that smelly skunk.  Problem was, he had no idea what to do with it after that.  He was so afraid to approach the skunk in the trap.  He tried walking up to it really slowly and quietly, he tried throwing a tarp over it.  I spent a good three or four hours just watching this guy circle the cage, try all kinds of things, work up his nerve just to get scared again.  Highly entertaining!  Truth is, that guy just didn’t know what to do with the wild skunk, and he didn’t know what it could do to him.

He should have called a professional to come out and trap the skunk in the first place.  A wildlife removal specialist already has the skills and experience to get rid of a skunk, and will do it legally.  Eventually, he called in an expert at skunk trapping, who not only got rid of the skunk, but repaired the damage the skunk caused.

Now, I wonder if we can get another wild animal to attack the guy’s house again.  I’ve got to get my entertainment one way or another, and watching him fumble around with wild animals is always good for a laugh!

Get Rid of Skunks

get rid of skunks
            Thinking of ways of how to get rid of a skunk is just not something you want to do while running at five-thirty in the morning.  But, in my neighborhood, you’d better give it a little bit of thought, for your own safety.

            Around the end of April, my scale and an upcoming trip to the beach reminded me of my New Years Resolution to get fit and trim down.  I spent a lot of time calculating how many calories I needed to burn each day to make my beach trip something more than a Mumu-fest.  I invested in a great pair of running shoes, planned out a route, got a lot of great tips online, and decided which the day I would begin my valiant efforts to get fit.  I figured the best time to get running into my schedule was to go early in the morning before the kids woke up.  So, I also bought a small light to wear on my hip, to alert the few possible drivers of my presence.  A crash diet was possibly in order, but having a car crash into me wasn’t.

          I went to sleep early and excited about my new routine, and woke up angry at the vicious alarm clock and moaning about the indecency of running while it was still dark outside.

            But, I did it.  I started my routine, and after about a week and a half, it got a lot easier.  I didn’t moan as loudly when I woke up, and I finally stopped swearing at the alarm clock.  My breathing was getting easier and I was almost able to run a full mile without stopping.  And, if I was truly honest with myself, I enjoyed running while it was still dark outside.  I felt so virtuous, thinking of myself as a “hard core” runner, alone and free out there in the dim pre-dawn.  It was the only quiet time I had each day, and I was beginning to actually enjoy it. 

            I heard a sound, and then the light on my hip caught a flash of something moving just ahead of me.  I couldn’t make out quite what it was, but it was large enough to make me stop.  Adrenaline pumping, I tried to calm my breathing and squinted, grabbing at the small light.  It moved again.  A cat?  Noooo, what is . . .?  Then my mind finally put it together.  Skunk!!!  Rooting around in someone’s garbage.  Long nose, bushy tail, and of course the white stripes on black fur.  If I hadn’t stopped, I would have run right next to it, probably startling it enough to spray me.

            I backed up slowly and eased over to the other side of the road, warily watching the black shape moving around.  As long as it didn’t turn its tail towards me, I was okay, right?  Unless it was rabid?  No, probably not rabid or it would have charged me by now.  Right?  Maybe?  How many days had I run right by it?  Where was it living?  How do I get rid of a skunk in my neighborhood?  My stomach churned, thinking of how I might have been sprayed before I even knew there was a skunk in the road.

Skunk Removal

skunk removal
I love my husband, I do, but he knows nothing about skunk removal.  He’s strong, he’s good to me, he’s good to the kids, he works hard, he takes care of the house, he makes sure the yard looks good.  He’s an all-around good-guy.  So, please don’t take this the wrong way when I say, sometimes, only sometimes, he’s a stupid man.  If only he’d just listen to what I say. 

            It was pretty clear we had a problem on the property when the dog came in whining and reeking of skunk.  The poor dog just looked sheepish as we contemplated calling in a Hazmat team to clean him up.  We finally sucked it up and did the awful clean-up ourselves, but I swore I’d never do it again.  He’s still afraid to go outside! 

            My darling hubby went out that night and bought us a skunk trap.  That was smart, I thought.  He set it up in the backyard, close to the house.  We had it out there for two days before we caught anything.  It was a long two days, because I didn’t want the kids playing outside until we were done with the skunk removal.  Awful enough to clean up a dog, I couldn’t imagine how bad it would be with a child!! 

            This was an event, for our family, catching the skunk.  I “suggested” ever so gently that my husband bring out an old towel or two to throw over the cage, place it and the skunk in the truck, and drive off with it somewhere to leave in the great wide wilderness.  He insisted he didn’t need to go to those lengths.  I just grunted, and muttered something about how this was his responsibility so I’ll just keep out of it.  Then I grabbed the video camera.

            It must’ve taken my husband a good fifteen minutes to creep across the yard towards the cage, the skunk eyeing him the whole time.  He was completely unarmed – just wearing his jeans, t-shirt and a ball cap.  I guess he figured stealth and the LA Dodgers logo were his best defense. 

            Finally, he arrived at the cage.  Another three minutes to slowly lift his arm and reach out to the trap’s door.  I think I finally realized what his great plan was – he was just going to open the trap and let the animal go.  Was that wise?  I started to question him, but he just shushed me and moved the other hand up to steady the cage.

            I kept the video camera going as I watched the man who is usually my hero, kneel directly in front of the cage and open the door, to let the skunk out.  I think the skunk was just as surprised at this course of action.  It crept up to the front of the cage, and quickly ran out, stopped for a moment to look at this strong man, and ran off out of sight.  My husband is a truly lucky man, not getting sprayed, but I just had to ask him, “What was the point of setting a skunk removal trap when you’re just going to let the skunk back out into our own back yard?”

            We have agreed to not talk about this ever again with each other.