Saturday, May 26, 2007

Skunked

We have had a burrow in the barn for the past two years and late last year, we finally discovered what had been living in it. It was a skunk. We left it alone and it left us alone. This year, it was back and it sprayed in the barn, which irritated my father, so he decided to irritate the skunk in return. He shoved a conduit pipe down the hole and then a hose and watered the den so to speak. This pissed off the skunk and after it was all said and done, the entire neighborhood smelled like skunk. He put rags soaked in ammonia around the hole and soon it seemed the skunk had vacated.

Earlier tonight, I had saved yet another mouse from the cats. Actually ... mom was again the one brave enough to catch it in a bucket, while I screamed as I carried the bucket all the way to the back to release it. Anyway, on my way back to the barn, I noticed a pile of black and white fur huddled up behind a pile of mulch. At first I thought it was Jack or Scooter and then I realized it was a skunk. I stopped in my tracks and was preparing to run when I looked a little closer and realized it was not one skunk, but six tiny babies huddled together. There was no mother in site and they were crying and acting very hungry. I ran to get mom and Amanda and we watched to make sure the cats wouldn't be able to eat them. Apparently cats have a natural instinct to know that baby skunks are stinky. They really didn't want anything to do with them. Dad, Justin, Meagan and Teresa all drove up and we had a nice skunk watching party, while the babies fussed and pushed each other around in their tight huddle. We all figured we would give the mother a chance to come back for them and drag them back to their den. About an hour later, mom and Teresa went back out to check on them and found several of them wandering around the yard. We decided we should put them in a box tall enough so they couldn't get out, but short enough that the mama could get them out when she returned.

Catching the little buggers proved harder than we thought. One was under the flat bed trailer and was not about to be caught. Mom was armored in a pair of garden gloves and two oven mitts. Teresa was on one side trying to push it to the opposite side towards mom, but it would run the minute it saw her gloves. I grabbed a pitch fork and scared it out the side of the trailer near Teresa, while she and Meagan blocked it and mom scooped it up in her hands. It was NOT happy and it lifted it's little tail and proved that baby skunks are fully capable of spraying. They look so cute that you wouldn't believe it possible, but they know how to do it and it DOES stink. I got a mouthful and it wasn't pleasant. It's not as potent as an adult, but it still reeks. After mom put the first one in the box, I went after the others. I decided to use the pitch fork and just scooped the second one up and put him in the box. Each time I picked one up, it would spray, continually adding to the already potent perfume in the air. We were able to catch three babies, but the other three disappeared and we are hoping they went back to their den. We left the box out near the den with straw and if the babies are still in there tomorrow morning, I fear they have probably been abandoned. We looked on line and found out what to do if that's the case, but I'm really hoping it's not. I don't think fostering tiny skunks who like to spray you sounds all that fun. From what I can tell, they are between 3 and 5 weeks old. Very, very cute!!! If they didn't stink so bad, I'd pick them up and hug them.



2 comments:

Teresa said...

I have to say that was quite the experiance. I hope the mama claimed them last night

Teresa said...

Mamma