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-   -   We live with skunks (http://www.petsandwildlifeforum.com//showthread.php?t=399)

DonB 06-29-2007 12:53 PM

We live with skunks
 
We live in the middle of a section of land historically and affectionately known as "Skunk Hill". We have a good population of both regular skunks and albino skunks. When I see them close to the house, I gently walk them away from our yard and further into the fields. They haven't been a problem even though we've had quite a few dog skunkings and an unfortunate incident about five years ago when a skunk came into the house through the doggie door while we were gone. By now, our dogs have well learned what skunks are all about and don't get tagged anymore.

Lately, the conventionally colored gang seems to like our house and yard a little too much. The night before last, one cut loose in the front yard when a dog went out to take a whiz and scared it. He didn't come close to taking a direct hit but it was a stinky awakening for us, nevertheless. The night before, we had one goofing around within feet of our back porch. Early this morning, before daylight, we saw four in the backyard and four more out front in the dogs' yard.

Questions are: Can I control this behavior? Is there something I can do to make our yard less attractive to these critters? I enjoy having them around but not so close that our dogs are in danger of getting sprayed every day and night for simply coming around a corner and scaring one of these guys. These dogs are getting old and not seeing as well as they used to and certainly not as agile as pups.

Thanks,
Don

MissDolittle 06-29-2007 01:19 PM

Re: We live with skunks
 
Wow! First of all, welcome on board! I would have no idea how to control that other than building a privacy fence or maybe using Deer Off or bitter apple spray to keep them out. No foods of any kinds outside, secure trash cans..all that is what I tell people usually, but in your case you might want to seek the advice of a professional in that area. Maybe live trapping and re-location is an option, I really don't know. I have not dealt much with that kind of control.

Hopefully somebody else knows more about this!

Thanks for caring about the skunks though..I don't even want to know how many people just throw poison out there. Thank you!

DonB 06-29-2007 03:10 PM

Re: We live with skunks
 
Thanks for the welcome and thanks for providing a forum where replies won't contain the word "shotgun". Thank you also for the suggestions.

I've thought about trapping and relocation but this area is their home too. I'm not a real fan of hauling off critters to different areas for release. Not even rattlesnakes which I know don't do well if moved too far from their home range. Besides that, it may be a real adventure moving and releasing a skunk in a trap. They're very reasonable critters but I'm not sure how they would react to being hauled around in a trap. I'm too old for peroxide and baking soda baths.

I don't think food outside is an issue. We had to stop leaving food out for the cats a long time ago because of the possums. Now the cats come in and out on their own, like the dogs. We feed the raccoon outside but her domain is secure from wild animals. We have a 10 year old raccoon that could not and would not be released. She lives in an indoor/outdoor addition to our house. I just realized the compost pile may be a problem and we'll have to quit throwing veggie scraps on it. Never really thought about it before but maybe old romaine is a skunk favorite.

Privacy fence would be difficult due to terrain and sheer expense involved in erecting what would be necessary.

Seems like there ought to be a way to reason with the skunks and convince them to maintain a safe distance. I just don't know that much about them.

MissDolittle 06-29-2007 03:39 PM

Re: We live with skunks
 
Hmm, I was doing some more thinking..how about you put some food for them away from the house? I used to do that with squirrels and it worked just fine.

I will also send you a PM right now! :)

WingedCat 06-29-2007 03:41 PM

Re: We live with skunks
 
Quote:

I just realized the compost pile may be a problem and we'll have to quit throwing veggie scraps on it. Never really thought about it before but maybe old romaine is a skunk favorite.

Finding a way to cover the compost pile is a very good idea. Skunks eat lots of things, bugs which are attracted to the pile as well as the scrapes you throw out there. A tarp probably won't work since a skunk would surely find a way under or through it. If you can afford it maybe one of those composting balls would work for you. After removing this tempting treat from their reach it may take some time before they realize there is no more food to be had and hopefully move on or at least not hang around so much.

DonB 06-29-2007 07:06 PM

Re: We live with skunks
 
Good ideas here.

Even though 90% of what we throw on the compost pile is egg shells and coffee grounds, there may be interest even though it's only a 3x3 pile framed with rocks and I've never noticed any digging in it. I still see most of the salad fixings thrown out there yesterday are still there today. At least the onion peels, radish butts and broccoli stalks are. Not sure what else went on there yesterday. I'll ask my wife.

My first thought on feeding skunks is one of ethics. But then I realize people feed deer, waterfowl and other wild animals all the time so why shouldn't I feed my skunks? I even have the perfect feeder sitting out in the front pasture... if a skunk could find the feed and get up in a pan that sits 18" off the ground. This is an old ostrich feeder with a weather vane type of rain hood to keep feed dry. Do you think skunks could deal with a feeder like this? I know they don't climb too good.

One concern with a plan like this is even if they eat the feed, will it keep them away from the yard? Skunks seen so darn happy just wandering about aimlessly with their noses to the ground looking for bugs. Another concern would be increasing the size of my herd. I wonder if skunks from miles away would find the party.

MissDolittle 06-30-2007 09:04 AM

Re: We live with skunks
 
I would say there is only one way to find out if it works or not :). I have no idea and certainly can't give you guarantees, only brainstorm a bit and figure out what I would do in the same situation.

They SHOULD go after the easiest food to reach. If you put up the ostricht feeder, put it near a fallen tree or something like that where they can climb on and then step over maybe?

DonB 07-01-2007 11:52 AM

Re: We live with skunks
 
Thanks. Do you think skunks like dog food?

I never received the PM you mention above. Did I goof up my setup for PM's?

MissDolittle 07-01-2007 12:17 PM

Re: We live with skunks
 
Yes, they like dog food :).

I sent you an email via the board, maybe check your junkmail?

DonB 07-01-2007 04:26 PM

Re: We live with skunks
 
Found it. It was indeed in the junk mail. Grrrr! Will respond by email.

Thanks.


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