June 21, 2006

Backyard Wildlife

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:20 pm

skunk.jpgThe backyard of the House by the Parkway is not exactly teeming with wildlife. The fauna in our “Wild Kingdom” is largely limited to squirrels and several kinds of birds and an occasional rabbit.

The night before last, I went out onto the deck and saw this longish, “waddling thing” motivating around the grass, stopping between waddles to eat stuff in the grass. It took a couple minutes to get a good enough look at it to recognize it. Holy crap! A skunk! A farookin’ SKUNK! Once it got a look at me (still on the deck, giving this stinker wide berth), it scurried off somewhere.

I was hopeful that the critter was just passing through and that he/she would wander to other yards for dinner and ultimately turn in for the night miles away from here.

No such luck.

Last night I was on the deck enjoying a libation or two, and I saw the black and white furball doing a mondo fast waddle from the neighbor’s yard, and it appeared to go under my backyard shed, which sits on concrete slab.

I did a bit of Internet prowling to learn that striped skunks (the only kind that are in New Jersey) often burrow under homes (and, therefore, under cement slabs, methinks) to make their little dens. Just friggin’ terrific, that.

I found suggestions about how to determine whether the critter has taken up residence in the ground, but all of them involve looking for the hole, waiting for the critter to come out at night and plugging up the hole. Problem is that all sides of the shed except for the front are surrounded by thick growth, and two of those three sides would difficult to access even if there were no growth. Therefore, I don’t think I’ll be looking for the hole. Besides, I read that one shouldn’t plug up the hole between May and August, because there might be little Skunkettes in the damned den, which will pose yet another potentially stinky problem. Skunkettes? Do I need this shit?

How about a trap? Ha! These things can spray their stink-juice some fifteen feet, and they do it when threatened, frightened or pissed off. I know that I once set a “Have a Heart” Trap for a big ol’ rat that was prowling about and I ended up catching a squirrel. That was one frightened and pissed off animal when I got near the trap. I figure the chances of getting spritzed by a pissed-off skunk are just about 100%. I read that one should cover the trap with a “tarp” so as to contain the skunk spritz.

Here’s the thing. I don’t own a farookin’ trap, nor do I own a farookin’ tarp, and I sure as shit don’t want to go buy that stuff only to have to deal with possibly being skunk-spritzed.

Of all the backyards in New Jersey, this critter had to walk into mine. Play it, Sam!

I wish Dash lived around here. He probably knows how to bag these varmints, and he probably even knows how to make a tasty skunk ragout. Or, maybe I could convince Dogette to use some chemical weapons on this backyard invader.

Looks like I’ll be calling Mr. Exterminator.


  1. Sacre bleu! Je ne c’est pas, mon ami. Pepe le Pew is not my forte. But… I’d help you out if I were within easy driving distance. Maybe a nice polecat sauce piquante. Or a savory skunk gumbo, non? Bon chance!

    Comment by Dash — June 21, 2006 @ 9:58 pm

  2. Place strategic caches of Raw Meat in your neighbor’s yard. Then the Skunk Problem will become his, not yours.

    Me, I’d rather have skinks than skunks.

    But I’d rather have skunks than gators.

    Comment by Elisson — June 21, 2006 @ 10:26 pm

  3. I think we might have one of those “Have a Heart” traps in the garage somewhere, still unopened. I think it’s next to one of those “Have a Pellet Gun” boxes, which may have been opened.

    Comment by dogette — June 21, 2006 @ 10:34 pm

  4. didnt julie andrews sing a song about this in the sound of music?

    ~~the HILLS are ALIVE
    with the SMELL of SKUNKS….~~

    Comment by mr. helpful — June 22, 2006 @ 12:37 am


    I remember this song from years ago about A dead Skunk in the middle of the road, smelling up the whole highway. I think it was about democrats though.

    What you have there is a two toned kitty with a fluid drive.

    Comment by GUYK — June 22, 2006 @ 7:58 am

  6. They make wonderful pets

    Comment by jamesoldguy — June 22, 2006 @ 8:50 am

  7. Borrow a gator from Cat, put it in your yard for a day or two. Should solve the skunk problem.

    Comment by vipergirl — June 22, 2006 @ 9:54 am

  8. … start placing an open tin of catfood in the middle of the road in front of your house at night…. a few days and that should fix the problem….

    Comment by Eric — June 22, 2006 @ 10:42 am

  9. You need to first establish a setting of Mutually Assured Destruction. Grab a bottle of lighter fluid, and make like a flame thrower at (but not on) your newfound friend. Close enough to appreciate that you are also not to be trifled with.

    If he sticks around, your yard becomes a lot less populated by other critters……

    Comment by Mike R. — June 22, 2006 @ 4:45 pm

  10. A skunk… oh hell no, don’t mess with that thing. Call in a pro – let him get sprayed. EWWWW!!!!

    Comment by Teresa — June 22, 2006 @ 10:14 pm

  11. ROFTL! If you don’t call the exterminator, Eric has the best idea so far.

    FWIIW, they will domesticate very easily. We had a problem at NASA with some that did — they got so tame they tried to come into Spacelab Mission Control during a mission for company. They ended up having to trap and relocate the entire family of skunks.

    Raised from kits and de-scented, they make excellent pets and can even be litterbox trained. Have heard of some wild ones who went that route too…

    Just remember: tomato juice and all the commercial stuff sold for descenting, well, let’s just say that time will take care of most of the odor. 🙂


    Comment by Laughing Wolf — June 23, 2006 @ 8:09 am

  12. Only you Jimbo. I swear to Pete – only you!

    Good luck dude!

    Comment by Tammi — June 23, 2006 @ 10:34 am

  13. Had a family of em’ under my neighbors garage (out west here in morris county). Called animal control to see if they’d come get’em. Instead they asked me if there was an adult male in the household…….yeeeeeeeees i answered thinking to myself WTF?!?! The women proceeds to tell me I should urinate in the locations where the skunks are coming into the yard. The skunks will think there is a predator around and beat feet(or paws). So i pissed along the fence and viola

    Comment by chucksdaman — June 23, 2006 @ 12:10 pm

  14. The Fish and Game Department in this case is your friend. If you want to guarantee someone will come running to take care of it, tell them it’s acting strangely…wobbling and drooling…and you think it’s rabid. That’ll light a fire under their butts 🙂

    Comment by Chablis — June 23, 2006 @ 8:30 pm

  15. Skunks aren’t that bad. We had a regular visitor on the farm, used to hunker down with the outdoor cats in the breezeway to the barn where we fed them. He sprayed them once and then they decided to coexist. He never bothered us and only showed up at night. Of course he was really old and pure silver. By the end of the winter he was fat from cat food he could barely could get through the cat door and waddle away.

    Had one under the front porch in Noho one summer too. It used to be a little freaky coming home drunk from the bars and seeing him sitting on the step but he never bothered us and we didn’t bother him. The only trouble is they rip up your trash if you don’t have secure cans but racoons will do that too.

    But if it freaks you out, whoever said fish and wildlife will come get em if you think they’re rabid is right. I don’t think they charge. The exterminor is expensive.

    Comment by Libby — June 23, 2006 @ 9:34 pm

  16. Call the nearest Critter Catcher. In phone book.

    Comment by Nancy — June 24, 2006 @ 7:29 pm

  17. Enjoyed your comments. Have a little skunk problem of my own. The babies are adorable, but fiesty. If you come near them they spit at you in the manner of kittens. We tend to leave them alone and hope they’ll go home wagging their tails behind them. I do find them quite cat-like, however. Enjoy the experience…something to tell the kids and grandkids about.

    Comment by Janey — June 25, 2006 @ 9:47 am

  18. Just remember…it’s a fucking skunk…not a farookin’ SKUNK. I live down south and know about these things…

    Comment by Yabu — June 25, 2006 @ 5:05 pm

  19. Hey,

    Do yourself a flavor… get a pro. And do it quick before the thing starts a family.


    Comment by Ricklude — June 25, 2006 @ 6:35 pm

  20. […] Parkway Rest Stop has cute little critters in the back yard. Problem is, they stink! […]

    Pingback by Stock Market Beat » Blog Archive » The Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers — June 26, 2006 @ 6:28 am

  21. I have a friend up in Gainesville who keeps getting skunks in his yard – in case you do get sprayed, mix up baking soda, laundry detergent, and hydrogen peroxide – you’ll never know it was even near you…..

    Comment by Carmen — June 26, 2006 @ 11:21 am

  22. ahhh – Eric has a good idea, Dogette’s gun is the best one though. You do NOT want to catch a skunk in a live trap. I managed that once when trapping racoons. Very bad experience.

    Is it still around?

    Comment by moos — June 26, 2006 @ 2:02 pm

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