Thursday, July 28, 2011

Skunk Wars: Part Three

That's right, this means war. I like skunks, I really do, but the fact that this one has eluded us for so long is getting to me. Now it's personal.

(In case you missed it, the stories of our previous attempts to catch the skunk(s) can be seen here: Part 1 - Opossum and here: Part 2 - Raccoon. If you don't feel like going back and clicking the links, here's a quick summary for you: I saw a skunk. We put out a trap. We caught a 'possum. We put the trap out again. We caught a raccoon. To be continued...)

We put the trap out again. And again. And again. The other day I thought I heard the trap rattling. It had not been checked that day, so I walked around and around trying to find it. I couldn't find it, but I heard a strange sound. There was scratching, and metal clinking, and water splashes. I followed the sound to a 55 gallon drum. I peeked carefully inside, through the spiderwebs that covered the top of the barrel, just over the edge in case it was something that could jump or bite or... gulp... spray me. When I finally got the guts to pull off the webs and look over the edge I saw.....

A soaking wet chipmunk.

The trap had been dragged off by some large animal. We dumped the chipmunk out and gave it its freedom, and reset the trap. That evening, when looking for Mr. Farmer right after dark, the fluffy white skunk walked right behind me. I swear I felt her little fuzzy tail brush against my heels. When I told Mr. Farmer of her brazenness, he told me she had hissed at him earlier in the day, and that he figured she was expecting. I went to bed a little freaked out, but with great hopes that we would catch her for sure. What pregnant animal could resist the DOUGHNUT we had baited the trap with? The next morning we checked it and FINALLY....

A neighbor's cat. Pole cat? Nope. House cat. Mr. Farmer released it before I could get a photo. I was more than a little disappointed about that. Then, to add insult to injury, he loaned the trap to a friend, dashing my hopes for skunk capture prior to reproduction.

So, for now, this story is still "to be continued." Arriving home late from work yesterday I watched the entire skunk family trot across my tomato garden in the light of my headlights. First the proud, sleekly black-tailed Papa, whom I had not seen before. Next came the fluffy white Mama with two black kittens in tow. They ducked under the house, and Mr. Farmer has vowed to put chicken wire reinforcements under the front porch to keep them out from underneath. Hopefully they will just move on. Otherwise, I guess we'll have to set that trap... again...


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