Our next door neighbor Heather called us about seven this morning, warning us to stay away from the area between our houses. A skunk had entangled itself in a lawn chair of theirs (in the garage), and her husband Jeff had used a fishing pole to drag it out in the yard while he decided what to do next. He succeeded in doing this without getting sprayed, so I was already impressed.
I stepped out with binoculars to have a look. It looked to have only one leg caught. Tail and head were up and free. I closed our garage door, which suddenly looked like inviting cover to a potential newly freed skunk.
You know, skunks really are attractive animals. I understand their appeal as pets.
I finished getting ready for work, and stopped by to speak with Jeff on the way out. He was trying to determine whether there was anyone to call. (The ultimate answer was “no, not outside city limits.”) Then he said “Yeah, my neighbor over here on the other side has killed nine so far this year.”
“Damn. How does he do it?”
I bade him good luck and went on to work.
So then Lea called about a quarter of ten.
“There’s a dead baby skunk in the dog pen.”
“Are you sure? Maybe it’s a piece of that other one the dogs had squirreled away. Can you get close enough to it to tell me what you see?”
(pause) “No, it’s a whole animal. I see the head.”
We wrapped up the call, and I headed to the parking lot. I didn’t like the sound of “baby skunk” at all. That means there’s a den close by. That means I’m going to have to do some very unpleasant poking around when I get home.
After putting on some might-have-to-throw-these-away clothes, I headed back there, and was somewhat relieved to discover it wasn’t a young kit. It was small, but I think large enough to have been on its own for a while (maybe a foot long).
It was perplexing, though. My dogs just flat ate the last one. I didn’t look very closely, but this one seemed intact. What the hell? Our best guesses are that in the middle of the night, a) a bird of prey dropped it; or b) it was .410ed two doors down and got that far before it died. By the time the dogs found it, it was carrion and not a fresh kill, so there you go.
After disposing of that, I began my detailed property inspection. I’m now 99% certain there is not a skunk den under our deck or in our crawlspace. I found no evidence of digging, no tracks, and no animals. (I forgot to check the back shed; I’ll look there in the morning. I was concerned with living quarters today.)
While I was cleaning up, Heather called back to let us know that Jeff had “taken care” of their skunk, and that the chair was gone too.
Wow, what a skunky summer so far. And it’s so early yet.