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The Adventures of Living With Skunks

May 10, 2009
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I have read several stories of people who have had skunks (de-skunked of course) as pets. While I think they are beautiful animals (love that shiny black and white), I think I will stick with man’s best friend when it comes to pets. We do, however, have skunks. They are not, however, pets. We live close enough to the foothills that we acquire all sorts of small wild animals in the backyard, several of whom have sadly met untimely deaths once they encountered the security force patrolling the backyard. We once saw a coyote run down the street, but mostly we just get raccoons, skunks, possums, squirrels and mice. The skunks have never been easy to get used to. How do you get used to that smell? Over the years our dogs have had many run ins with the skunks (who I think live under the house, or at least they like going under there, unfortunately) and we have tried everything under the sun to get that smell out of their coats. Now we have given up and we just live with it until it dissipates. Most of our dogs learned their lessons and just let the skunks wander the backyard, unaccosted. Princess, who must be the worlds’ dumbest dog, however, never learns her lesson and goes after them every single time! She  has only managed to kill one skunk, and it was a baby! The rest of them of course just get away.

So when we were awakened early this morning to the pungent odor of skunk, it was nothing new. Princess got a talking to, and she got locked up because 1.) She deserves it, and 2.) She smells bad so we don’t want her near us. Not only did she get sprayed though, but she tore up Tommy’s car cover (which was still half on the car in shreds) in trying to get to the skunk (who must have fled under it seeking refuge from this dumb dog who kept coming after it.)

Skunk 002

Thankfully Tommy realized (after several minutes) that the skunk was still under the car this morning, before he moved the car! I am sure that would have set off the skunk again!

Skunk 007

So now what to do? It’s 9 AM on Sunday morning, we should all be almost ready to leave for church, and here we all are, peering under Tom’s car, trying to determine what to do. We didn’t want to leave it under there to eventually wander off and then come back later to douse our backyard again.  After some discussion, we decided to set the Hav-A-Heart trap (normally for catching squirrels) and just hope that it was big enough and that maybe the skunk would eventually wander in there. I went to the back and got some rotten apples from under the apple tree to bait the trap and then we set it under the car.

Skunk 009

Skunk 010

We figured it would naturally go wherever it was darkest, so we covered the trap, and then pulled the ripped car cover away from the rest of the car, and voila, the skunk immediately went and got caught in the trap. We weren’t expecting it to work quite that fast! So now what? Do we leave him in it all morning while we go to church, or will that just cause pandemonium with him getting frantic at being trapped, and the dogs trying to get out to get him? We finally decided that since we were already going to be late for church (it was about 9:10 and I had done nothing yet but eat a small breakfast) we might as well just go dump him in the canyon right away. While I scrambled to get dressed, David ran for his video camera and my mom grabbed a pair of gloves. Tommy picked up the sheet-covered trap and loaded it in the back of the truck. We all jumped in and drove slowly down Valley Center (Tom said the skunk probably wouldn’t spray us when we let him out, but he might throw up on us) At the end of the road we were met by a few walkie-talkie toting Buddhists who asked if we were there for the “special event.” Of course anyone is allowed down in the canyon, but we figured that even if he wanted to stop us, all we had to do was brandish THE skunk and we could probably go wherever we wanted.

After trying to pick an inconspicuous place to make our drop off (we weren’t sure what the other walkie-talkie toting Buddhist stationed at the start of the bridge would think) we got out and Tommy carefully carried the cage across the stream and gingerly opened it and backed away. Our little friend turned around a few times and then, realizing that he could escape, slowly wandered out and made his way up the hill. Success!

Skunk 032

By the time we got home and I jumped in the shower, it was already after 9:30! I figured there was no way in the world I was going to make the first service at church, but somehow I did, albeit 10 minutes late. But still, I was slightly amazed! 🙂

So that was our skunk adventure for today.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 11, 2009 6:44 am

    Wow! Looks and sounds like you had a super exciting morning! I remember when we lived on campus we had a skunk come on our porch and start eating the cat food! scary! 😉

  2. Becka permalink
    May 11, 2009 7:38 am

    lol Whoa. Talk about an eventful morning! I thouroughly enjoyed this post. lol 🙂 Especially “walkie talkie toting Buddhists.” lol

  3. aleassa permalink
    May 11, 2009 11:34 am

    Great story! I can’t believe you got that close to a skunk–I’d be scared to death, lol.

  4. jaynepomuceno permalink
    May 11, 2009 9:00 pm

    Wow, you guys should start a pest control business!

  5. jenmarie permalink*
    May 12, 2009 5:27 pm

    lol, yeah it was interesting. I wasn’t too afraid to get close to it while it was under the car since I was pretty sure he couldn’t spray while under there. Otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten too close to him!

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