My Stinky Neighbor

We are pretty sure that a skunk has taken up residence in a burrow near our front porch.  We know skunks are around, and the burrow seems to be the right size.  Also, there is frequently a faint skunk scent here.  We have seen the skunk nearby at night too (it’s really very cute, though you want to keep your distance), and our garbage cans have been raided.  We also have possums and raccoons around, but they are not a concern, though we suspect that raccoons have gotten into our garbage too.

Getting rid of a skunk is tricky.  If we try poison it, we’ll have a skinky dead thing in a burrow next to our house, or we risk poisoning something else.  Trapping is bad, because there are dogs and cats around, and we don’t want to hurt them by accident.  Live trapping is rather tricky too;  My neighbor says it can be done if the skunk is in a tight spot and can’t rear enough to spray.  I don’t want to experiment with this.  Wikipedia has a recipe for skunk scent removal that was tested by Mythbusters, but I don’t want to have to try it. 😮

In our first attempt to get rid of the skunk, we poured some mothballs down its burrow.  The theory is that this will out-stink the skunk and force it to move elsewhere.  I will also scatter some flour around the hole, so I can see if there are any tracks going in and out.  If there are no tracks for a while, I can fill in the hole.

Incidentally, I remember many years ago that my uncle had two pet skunks.  They were de-scented, but they still smelled a lot worse that a pet ferret.  Apparently before cats were widespread, Indians and Pilgrims sometimes kept skunks as pets to keep mice and other pests away.  They apparently require a lot of effort to domesticate properly, and if badly trained, they will become more wild as they get older. 

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7 thoughts on “My Stinky Neighbor

  1. There is a company that sells crystalized fox urine. Sprinkle it around the opening and the skunk will think a predator has moved into the area and leave. I’ve used it with some success. There a companies that sell special traps, it is a pvc tube or a box. Since the skunk can’t see you it won’t spray. But then you have to get rid of the skunk. In PA it is against the law catch an animal and dump it somewhere else. Something about spreading disease. You need a special license to dispose of trapped wild animals.

  2. I saw that Mythbusters episode! It is definitely something I wouldn’t want to have to try!

    We, too, have a skunk that hangs around. He/she periodically sprays around the house. We think that at one time, it had a nest here somewhere, and still comes back to claim this as it’s own property, hence the spraying. It is awful when it sprays. By the time we smell it, it’s too late to worry about closing the windows and the smell lingers forever, it seems.

    Good luck in getting rid of yours!

  3. Sean,

    The fox urine idea sounds good, but I must have inherited a cheapness gene somewhere, because I am psychologically incapable of spending money for urine, dried or otherwise.

    When the fox urine crystallization factory needs to hire someone, what do they write in the classifieds? “:-o

  4. You could, um… well, actually, if you have street lights I guess you actually couldn’t, but las winter when we were having fox trouble, my husband and son went out two or three nights in a row and *ahem* marked our territory and it quit coming back.

    Hey, it’s free. But it’s probably something you definitely wouldn’t want to do in town.

    We have a cage-trap thing that catches animals live and then we dispose of them however is appropriate – which is sometimes letting them go. Do you have animal control people who could come out and take care of a skunk if you trapped it?

    Here’s a trap sort of like ours, and goodness I had no idea how expensive they are – the previous owners of this house left theirs behind for us.

  5. Kelly,

    I like the free aspect of this. But this is the city, and we have street lights, so such an action would not be good for my reputation. However, if we can bottle the fox stuff…

    It’s been a week since the treatment, and we still catch a whiff of skunk in certain places. The mothball smell is rather strong too.

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