Sweet success; the skunk is gone! I’ve been sharing my skunk adventures with Facebook fans for several weeks now. Basically, we had a gentle and well-behaved skunk making its home beneath our front stoop. It was like deja-vu all over again. Last year, I called in a trapper to catch the skunk, but once the traps were set, we never saw our wannabe pet again.
This year, I wanted to avoid the $125 trap fee as well as the inevitably stinky front-lawn death scene that would take place if the skunks were caught (state law, yo), so we stuck with trying to make life unpleasant for the skunk by repeatedly covering up the den entrance.
That doesn’t really stop a burrowing animal, especially one that really likes its home.
Even our extensive yard work, what with the regrading and laying of sod, didn’t seem to bother the skunk.
Nor did the mothballs we tossed into the den.
The old window screen I tried to bury near the entrance didn’t do it either. Like fingernails on a chalkboard to humans, burrowing animals don’t like the sound or feel of their nails scratching metal. But I didn’t plant it deep enough.
But when my husband said he spotted a family of skunks walking across our fresh sod one night, I knew I had to take action. When I mentioned on Facebook that it was time to get serious, a friend of a friend messaged me that used kitty litter can make a den stinkier than the skunks do. Even better, she offered to provide some for me.
So yes, early one spring morning after dropping my kids at school, I drove out to the woman’s house to pick up a bagful of well-soiled kitty litter. The mostly sealed bag sat on my lawn for a few days.
The early one evening, my husband told me he saw the skunk leave the den.
I sprang into action, sprinkling the aged kitty litter (whose odor was so potent that my child helper abandoned the project) at the entrance and then fully buried the old window screen and covered it all up with dirt and a large rock.
Done and done!
Sort of. We figured she wouldn’t leave her babies behind. I’m a mom, too. I get it.
Sure enough she returned for her brood. She didn’t spray. She just dug and dug and dug until she got her babies and then she left. At which point I covered the entrance with dirt again.
But like many a harried mom trying to wrangle her little ones, she forgot one slowpoke and returned for it about an hour later. The den has been sealed since then.
She’s not really homeless. Skunks commonly keep several dens in their territory; our stoop was just a favored home. I’m pretty sure she’s living nearby because we’ve seen presents from her on our driveway and garden. (In the form of poop, of course.)
The other day I was out on a walk when I noticed Mama Skunk digging up grubs on a neighbor’s lawn. It was close to 8 in the morning and already a hot, sunny day, so I’m not sure why she was still out from her evening romp (please don’t say rabies, because then we should have trapped her and put her down). I stopped in my tracks, looked right at her and said, “What are you doing here?!” She looked up at me and scurried away.
That was the last Ive seen of her.