Skunk in the hood

Skunk in the hood

We have a skunk in the neighborhood. Probably more than one. Over the last two nights we’ve smelled him just as we were getting ready for bed and on Tuesday night, he must have been right outside our bedroom window.

Oy, what a stink. It’s especially bad when your pregnant wife is already gagging at the slightest whiff of air freshener, for crying out loud.

I think I saw the little feller the other day when we were driving through the neighborhood. He was scampering around in broad daylight, unafraid of being molested. Who’s going to mess with a skunk?

And that’s what I’m wondering. What could have set off the skunk outside our window? There are no dogs out there.

I once ran over a skunk roadkill and the smell stuck to my car for a week. Good thing it was summer and I could ride around with the windows open. In the winter, I would have left the windows open too, but I would have needed to be bundled up like an Eskimo.

Should I bother calling animal control? I’m not sure they’re going to do anything about it, but I guess it wouldn’t hurt.

P.S. Yes, I know that we should make sure that our garbage is secure. Except the barrels are provided by the landlord and they don’t have lids. I may ask him to provide the lids or go out and buy new barrels for us and our upstairs neighbors.

Oy, the smell.

  • Yes, animal control will probably do something.  Give them a call.  If you saw the skunk in the daylight, it might be sick w/ rabies. (they shoudn’t come out during the day).  Anyway, they might bring out a trap to catch it.  Just a thought for you…

  • If he is scampering around in daytime, I think you should call the health department immediately.  Skunks are nocturnal animals and daytime activity could be indicative of disorientation brought about by rabies (which, as I understand it, is less common among skunks than among racoons, but more common there than in just about any other animal).

  • Hi Dom,

    My mother had a severe problem with skunks a few years ago. The smell was atrocious; sort of like someone peeling onions right under you nose. In any case, it turned out that a den was under her house. Now here’s the kicker…

    Skunk dens are frequented by many skunks over the course of weeks. This is because they move in circular patterns, staying on in one area for a few days and then moving out. When one or two move out, another shows up a day or two later. Trapping the buggers only removes one animal from the train of skunks moving through an area.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if you have den of some sort under your residence. Get out and poke around some tomorrow. They will burrow under a house, or make a spot under a porch. If you think you’ve found a den, the problem can be solved by blocking it off so that they cannot get in. That should work. A pest control specialist is key.

    Is there a patron saint for skunk problems? Maybe St. Francis…

  • A number of years ago, I let the dog out late at night to do her business before bedtime. Well as soon as she got outside, her nose, being she was a bloodhound mix, hit the ground and she took off all excited searching for something.

    In the not too far distance, I noticed a black object with a white strip and thought “oh no, not at 11PM.”

    Fortunately for me my dog, though ~ 65 lbs, was a big-timewimp—she at one time ran away and hid from a duckling—and she stopped in her tracks well short of the skunk as it was not running away from the dog.

    It was a close call.

  • Dom-

    Skunks always smell bad, even when they aren’t ‘set off’.  When we lived in Harrisburg PA we had one that lived nearby. We always knew when it was snuffing around outside by the sudden odor filling the house. A friend of mine, when I was a kid, had cousins with a pet skunk that had its odor glands removed (it was found as a baby and was not able to survive in the wild) It still had a faint odor about it.

    Get someone from animal control to come and set traps and release it somewhere else, as you have a toddler.  The last thing you need is for little Bella to get too close to a smelly ‘kitty’ by mistake, especially if it is trying to find den around your house.

  • What sets them off?

    Cats (people who let their cats loose in cities should be forbidden to possess them), racoons, possum, foxes, coyotes (we have all of these in the Boston area – the foxes and coyotes have season-to-season seesaw in domination), skunks.

    As for the winter: when the skunks stir in early to mid-February, you will smell them through most old wood-frame homes…. It’s one of the more special signs of the back of winter breaking.

    Their nests can last for years. You look forward to winters that start out mild and turn suddenly viscious – those kinds of winters kill lots of things (vermin and bugs too). Also look for low-mast years (years when oaks bear few acorns and evergreens bear few cones – it’s a periodic cycle) – there’s a lot more competition over the food that remains in the winter, and dearth equals death.

  • Cats (people who let their cats loose in cities should be forbidden to possess them),

    Which cities? I would not attempt it in inner-city Baltimore (which has few trees, birds, or greenspace), but I’ve had a dozen year’s experience with cats in urban zones and had no troubles.