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.

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