Skunks: City and Country Dwellers

Skunks: City and Country Dwellers

Skunks: City and Country Dwellers

by Brenda Hyde

Whether you are in the country or the city you are bound to smell, if not see, a skunk. They feed on fruits and any food or garbage left out in the open, but they really like grubs, which is why they will dig up a lawn. Now, before we label them a complete pest you should know that they will also eat field mice, rats, insects and even moles. So, in that sense, they can actually eliminate garden pests! If they aren't bothering you, consider leaving them along.

Skunks hide during the day and will sleep in brush piles, irrigation pipes, junk cars, under sheds or porches and in wood piles too. Try to keep anything that may become a home for them either closed off completely or open enough so light reaches in. Also, feeding dogs, cats or other animals outside where the food may be left out is an invitation to the skunks. Skunks don't like light or noise--they are really rather timid. It takes quite a bit for them to spray. If you do come into contact with one and it stomps its feet, slowly back away as quietly as you can. They give warning first usually, unless it's a baby. They are not mature enough, and will spray right away....just because they are cute and small does not mean they can't spray! But again. they are more scared of you, then you are of them.

If you are sprayed, or a pet comes wanders home smelling like skunk, you can wash with a mixture of 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide,1/2 cup baking soda, and 1 tbsp. liquid soap. Keep this mixture out of the eyes, nose, and mouth. Rinse with warm water afterwards. Don't store this mixture---throw out what you don't use (It forms a gas). You can use it to wash outside of buildings or something that has been sprayed...but it could fade clothing or carpet.

If the smell has come through the windows or from a pet and your house smells, try boiling water with a few sprigs of fresh rosemary to get rid of the odor.

Usually when you smell a skunk outside it begins to fade, but if it has sprayed too near you it could last for a week or two. IF it seems like it's getting stronger then start searching your property--you may have a dead skunk somewhere, which will actually start to smell worse. You'll need to find it and get rid of it.

The bottom line is it's best to leave skunks alone if you can. If they are on your property, under a porch or shed, then try lighting the area--you can use those caged utility lights and place it in the area you think they are making a home. You can also put ammonia in a small coffee can, poke holes in the lid, replace it and put this in the area. That may chase them out---refresh it once a week or so. Notice these are things you can do without physically bothering the skunk yourself. Always check with your area wildlife agency, extension office or even local nature center for more tips. They know the local wildlife and the best things to do.

About the Author:

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer and editor of Old Fashioned Living. She and her family live in a 100 year old house and are experts at Do-it-Yourself projects on a budget! Visit HERE to sign up for her free tips newsletter.

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