Last week my husband was getting ready to dump the water when he looked down. He called me outside. What do you do when you see a skunk directly below you? Well, you surely do not dump a pan of water on him or startle him in any way. And if you have a blog, you grab the camera for a few photographs before the skunk ambles on his way.
The photographs are not especially good ones. I didn't take a lot of time to change the settings for a nightime picture. I both feared and wished the skunk would move on right away. I'm posting them anyway since I suspect you have not looked directly down at a skunk.
He stands near a drain to eat leftover bird seed. Thank goodness he is much too large to fit inside the drain.
He moves away from the drain.
NOTE to husband: Get the leaf blower out and blow those seeds into the woods.
The skunk family is made up of eleven species, most of them common throughout the United States. Known primarily for their lingering and noxious spray, they are also vectors of rabies. That is especially a problem here in the southeastern US.
Dog owners are always fearful that their dogs will encounter a skunk. A terrible skunk story came from my husband's co-worker. She was dressed and ready for work. She stepped outside to call the dog only to see the dog chasing a skunk right into the garage. The skunk released its spray directly under her car! Dog, car, garage and the woman reeked of the skunk odor. They never were able to completely rid the car of the odor.
We have been very fortunate so far, but we keep a skunk de-odor kit in a pail ready for immediate use. While there are several remedies, the one with hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and mild liquid soap seems to work better than tomato juice, beer, or even commercially available products. You can find it here. We do take some precautions to avoid interaction with skunks. We close the garage door at dusk when we bring in the bird feeders. We never let the dogs off leash at night. We wear headlamps and scan the driveway and street before taking the dogs out at night.
When you choose to live in the woods, you have to expect encounters with the animals whose habitat you are invading. But we hope to continue to respect the skunks from afar and not up-close-and-personal.