Saturday, February 9, 2013

Saturday morning

                                   Skunk Tails 
One evening last week I stepped outside the basement door to find myself face to face with a skunk. I wasn’t surprised; we had been smelling him around the house for a couple of days. The skunk didn’t seem surprised either. He eyed me with indifference, secure in the knowledge that if I didn’t already know about skunk defenses, he could teach me all I needed to know in about three seconds. Not willing to risk having my intentions misunderstood, I retreated inside, and the skunk went on about his business.

Our first encounter with skunks came many years ago shortly after we moved here. On a warm evening in early summer we came home to find a mother skunk occupying the small deck outside our kitchen door. Three baby skunks were busy chasing each other up and down the steps while mom raided the bird feeder. At that time, we came and went through the kitchen door, and a quick search revealed that neither of us had a key to the other door. We would have to get past the skunks.

Skunks are usually quite reluctant to release their foul spray, but with young to protect, I worried that this mom might be trigger happy so I kept my distance. It would be dark soon though and something needed to be done. I grabbed the garden hose. Perhaps I could out-squirt the squirter. Sure enough the mother skunk seemed quite unnerved by the stream of water coming in her direction, and made for the safety of the bushes nearby. The kits however, were delighted by this turn of events, and ran around in the water like children playing in a fire hydrant.

The mother skunk fussed and stamped her feet and when I turned the hose off  the kits reluctantly rejoined mom. She inspected them, lined them up and led them away into the dusk, tails arched over their backs. We never saw them again.

Skunks pretty much come and go as they please. Their only natural predator is the Great Horned Owl, who apparently has little or no sense of smell. We don't have a Great Horned Owl though, so we had to develop our own tricks to keep skunks away from the house. Last week we hung a trouble lights near where the skunk was nesting and scattered moth balls around under the deck. The skunk, and the smell, are now gone.
Apparently skunks don’t like the smell of moth balls. Ironic that.


Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment. I take a look at all comments before they are published to catch the occasional spam, so your comment may not appear right away. Thanks for reading Photography In Place.