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Black & white

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No, this isn't my entry in blog-against-racism week; I'm afraid that entry probably won't happen this week. This is just a short entry to mention an incident a few minutes ago:

I went out on my deck to do a few minutes of poi-spinning practice before coming upstairs to edit. Spun the poi a few times, and then saw a cat-sized shape come out from under the deck. It was narrow and black and had a white stripe down its back. It waddled a couple of feet, in the manner of mustelids everywhere, and then (I surmise) noticed the change in lighting as I stopped spinning and darted behind a post in hopes that I wouldn't startle it; it took off at a lope across my lawn, heading for the fence that leads to the front yard.

I took a couple of cautious sniffs, determined that it had not in fact sprayed in my direction, and went back to spinning poi. But there was a moment of adrenaline in there, for both of us.

I didn't know that a wild skunk had taken up residence under my deck. I'm hoping this was just a temporary thing. I'll be a little distressed if it decides to stick around. I like skunks fine, from a distance; I just don't want to risk scaring one up close.

(One of my uncles had a skunk for a pet when I was a kid, but that was a de-scented one, not a wild one.)

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I hear that skunks like cat food. A lot. To their possible detriment. I wonder if you can use that as a lure to get him into a trap and then dump him off far, far away. Perhaps under someone else's deck.


What We Have Learned About Skunks Since Our Second Date When My Dog Got Sprayed

Fox urine is supposed to drive skunks away. Not having a fox handy, we periodically spread blood meal, and that seems to help. Great horned owls will eat skunks, but they'll also eat puppies, so you want to be careful borrowing one of those.

It's hard to size the trap correctly so that the skunk can't spray.

It's also hard to shoot them so they die quickly enough to not spray.

If a skunk dies somewhere on your property, remove it. Otherwise it will stink for a very long time.

And if you do get sprayed, do a rain dance for 30 minutes. That will be just as effective as tomato juice -- your sense of smell degrades rapidly with a bit of time after being sprayed, which is why people think tomato juice works. The best compound we've found for actually removing the spray is Skunk Off (http://www.healthypets.com/skunbythorco.html) -- far more effective than most of the treatments available in pet stores, and in our experience very safe. We happily use it on our greyhound and on our hands.


In the unlikely event that the skunk sprays you, head over to your local Pet-stuff type store, and pick up NAture's Miracle skunk smell stuff. (example: http://www.petco.com/Shop/Product.aspx?familyid=5988 )

It's unlikely, because, skunks are pretty mellow and relatively tameable. They will almost always stomp their feet and mutter and lift their tail before they actually spray. (Some also stomp their feet while hunting earthworms as well, so you need the other signs too.) They don't like being startled, but who does?

More on skunks: Animal Diversity Web
Wikipedia's entry
Humboldt U on skunk spray
and more from google


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