Skunk Patrol, continued

Upon return from our less-than-a-week trip to the thin air of Colorado, we were quickly greeted by the thick, familiar and awful scent in the backyard of the Little Bitty in the Syracuse city neighborhood of Syracuse.

Ellie B skulks in her backyard.

Ellie B skulks in her backyard.

A day back, and Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle showed too much interest around the shed and back fence. That’s where last year we waged battle against the gopher, and won, and city skunk, and lost twice — first a minor shot to the side of the dog while Pepe LePew hung out inside the safety of the cordoned-off butterfly garden and later a between-the-eyes blast somehow aimed through tiny barricade slits.

After that second calamity, we’d fortified around the shed to take away underground opportunity and purchased a floodlight to bathe the yard annoying light to further frustrate the nocturnal skunk.

Oh, if only removing the stink from Ellie B herself had been so easy. The many douses in Nature’s Miracle liquid concoction eased the odor, but only time would take away the last tendrils of yuck.

So far this skunk season, the spray scents we’d sniffed had been from outside our premises.

Until our return, Ellie B’s heightened alert and … she turned tail and raced onto the screened porch on her own volition.

Thank goodness. Seconds later, the brazen beast let loose with a stream. Yup. Without Ellie B’s dogged daily diligence, the skunk had worked its way back under the shed. The next morning I found the hole burrowed at the very corner.

So I formed this year’s plan.

Click on any gallery photo for a description. Click and hold on the bottom right photo of any gallery for an enlarged slide show.

First I took out the flood light, hooked it onto the clothes-drying apparatus, and hoped it would send the out-of-its sleeping spot skunk elsewhere to find food and recreation.

The next day I purchased Critter Ridder shake-out repellant and moth balls, said to chase skunks, and scattered both behind and to the side of the shed, where Ellie B can’t reach.

So far, OK. Knock on wood. The dog has regained her yard to do her thing, but I remain wary. Oh, that stinking city skunk.

How would you handle the backyard battle vs. the city skunk? Would you still let the dog out there unsupervised? City problem or homeowner problem, in your opinion?

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75 thoughts on “Skunk Patrol, continued

  1. I have a neighbor that I adore, but she leaves food out to feed the skunks and other nocturnal creatures. Nice, right? My golden retrieves got sprayed one summer, and a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish detergent did the trick!

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  2. Now would be a good time to invest in a gun if you’re pondering that. Sigh. Just kidding. It is a home-owner problem for sure Mark. With the hundreds of skunks that wander in and out of private property daily, there is no way the city could deal with them – especially when it means entering private property. And many are fine if the property is large or wooded or there are no pets. I’ve only ever left the pets to learn not to approach skunks. They pick it up fast. Your problem is, of course, that poor Ellie loses her backyard if the skunk is left alone. There has to be a way to make Mr. Skunk move along. Surely others have had this problem before. I have no clue though Mark. Perhaps there is a support group that meets in the church basement – Ha! Not to detract from the great work done by other support groups. I wish you the best fo luck and skill. 🙂

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  3. Oh no! I wish you success in your battle. We have not seen any skunks this year, and only smelled a few, knock wood. I haven’t had much chance to go running super early this summer; garbage day is the most dangerous, according to our paper deliverers.

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  4. Great post. We recently returned from Colorado and found Arizona’s Big Brown Bats had taken up residence.

    These kinds of experiences always remind me of personal versions of the science fiction movies of the future when the animals, zombies, or aliens so easily take up residence of the planet when we humans are gone.

    Glad Ellie B didn’t get sprayed.

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    • Big brown bats would spook me as deeply as zombies, but not quite as much as aliens. Thank you, JoHanna, for commiserating on the great skunk dilemma. When we depart, the animals start to scheme, here and at your place. Dagnabbit!

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  5. I recall visiting friends in New Jersey and a skunk got their cocker spaniel but good! The odor is obnoxious and burns your nose and eyes for sure! She bathe the dog in tomato juice then took her to the groomers the next day. Yet, the odor lingered for weeks (we were told) horrible! Do not envy the dilemma for you two! The Gatorette. Beachside skunk free zone…LOL

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  6. The skunks in my neighborhood need to get together and have a class on crossing the road. It seems daily there is a dead skunk (or 4) on one or ore of the roads nearby. Not always the fast road either. Maybe at some point in the morning they get tired and fall asleep there.

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  7. We’ve had some run ins with skunks, and to come to think about it, it occurs around this time of year. A skunk must have sprayed for some reason by our back door one year ( due to a cat through window going nuts perhaps?) and our house stunk so bad for days. It was horrible! I’ve heard tomato juice works at getting the stench of skunk out but I am not sure, having no real personal experience, thank goodness. You have gone to a lot of thought and trouble making sure this troublesome creature does not hang around. Poor Ellie B. I don’t blame her for being skittish. Good luck, cuz!! I really have no advice other then keep on doing what you are. Have a great Sunday! Love, cuz from the east ❤

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  8. Our golden retriever mix was sprayed right between the eyes while investigating a skunk at our new home in an open yard that backed up to woods and river…no avoiding them there. I tried everything, it took weeks/ months to rid of the scent. But forever after that incident, if he approached the exit door and caught even a hint of that now dreaded odor, he turned and came back inside. Problem solved. ☺

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  9. Oh no! Not the skunk again! Good luck ridding your backyard of it and staying odor free. On another note, I love the sun reflected in the window of your place in that first shot Mark! ❤
    Diana xo

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  10. Mark! My dog got sprayed in the face last week!!! I’m still bathing her in the hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, shampoo mixture! Vet said it continues to come out of their pores! It was like a chemical assault! Our new rule is to never let her out when it’s dark now, unless she is on her leash with one of us. The flood light is a good idea. We have skunks all over the neighborhood right now – it’s bad. I’m going to get that critter stuff you mentioned and moth balls and put it by places I suspect they (or it) could be living. I don’t think I can go through this again!

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    • Oh, Kelly, I feel for you! Ellie B got it twice last year. Oy. We won’t let her out back without one of us walking out there with her now, too, since this last notice of the return of the stink. It’s so awful to lose the use of the fenced-in yard that the dog adores!

      I think this is a special time of year for mating or having babies or something for the darn things. Hopefully they’ll leave us both alone and we can get back to normal, right? But yes, I definitely suggest the Critter Ridder, mothballs and flood light as fighting tools.

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  11. Knock on wood, so far we haven’t had a skunk problem. I think the neighbor’s rats keep the skunks away. I kid you not – we had a board up against the fence to keep the neighbor’s mini-dog from crawling under, and behind it was a foot-long black rat. Neighbor hasn’t mowed that section of her side yard in a couple of years, so the rats have lots of places to hide. We’ll be dealing with this issue through the Town Building Department sometime this week. Meanwhile, we’re looking into getting one of those ultrasonic rodent repellers.

    I hadn’t thought of putting mothballs along the fence – do you think that would work?

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  12. I hate to laugh but it reminds me a bit of Bill Murray in Caddyshack. It never occurred to me that dog owners might face this kind of a problem with a skunk but after reading this, I can see how that would be an ongoing problem. Poor Ellie B!

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  13. Oh, poor little skunks, just doing their skunky thing! When you drive on the 5 freeway past Griffith Park in the right season you can smell the skunks for miles! Many years ago we used to have picnics there in the evenings which was evidently prime time for the skunks…. we learned to be VERY nice to them!

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  14. Do NOT let that dog roam around unsupervised. Are you crazy? You know what’s going to happen. Why do you even ask us?

    Sorry. Homeowner problem. How can the city be held responsible for every skunk in town? Under what logic? Skunks in the city admin, yes, but the furry kind? Not their biznizz.

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  15. I think the essence of skunk is an ethyl mercaptan – I remember that from Organic Chemistry. Same class of chemicals that the odor caused by freshly cut grass comes from. Just so you know. I don’t think I would like a skunk near my house. Don’t get me wrong, I love skunks, if they have been descented (or whatever they call it). Could you get one of those safe wildlife traps from animal control and put scrumptious skunk snackies in it. And then Animal Control could put it back in the forest, far away from your house!
    I think the wildlife that freaked me out the most was the scorpions I found hanging on my clothes in the closet when we lived in Phoenix. I despise scorpions. The exterminator told us it was unusual for scorpions to be seen in a groups (I think that was supposed to make me feel better). I advised him perhaps he should let the group of scorpions hanging on my clothes in closet know about this interesting phenomenon. Of course, there was that alligator that was in our backyard in Florida. Or the injured Timberwolf in my backyard in Colorado, or the baby bear that took a liking to my nasturtiums – both in Colorado. Seems like I have had lots of encounters with wildlife – now that I think about it.
    Good luck with your skunk hunting.

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  16. Good luck with the skunks! I remember my cousin use to wash her dog in tomato juice after skunk spraying incidents. She said it works.

    (D you know the song, “Dead Skunk” by Loudon Wainwright III–one of my husband’s favorites. 🙂

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  17. I think I may have told you last summer that my good friends had a mother skunk have her babies somehow under their enclosed deck. They paid a guy who catches animals live to take them in a cage to the country; presumably an open field. My good friend, Bill, rented a house in the country and we (our cat, he and I) would walk the property on nice evenings. We would smell the skunk in blackberry bushes but rarely would he or she come out. When it would it seemed to be afraid of us or Phoebe kitty. It would scurry back into the bramble. One day the farmer owner of the property had set up a kill trap and must have put poison in the food. I hate to make you mad but both Bill and I got teary eyed when we saw it on there dead.:( sorry!

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  18. We had a family of skunks in the barn on the farm bro Mark. Early every morning Mama would take the kits out for a stroll, leaving a trail of odor behind for us to inhale as we awoke to her, um, familiar alarms. Hubs would jump out of bed, lighting matches all over the place to rid the air of the unwelcome morning smell, while impatiently waiting for me to bound out an hour earlier than usual and start breakfast. Our dogs learned their lessons with only one dose of Mama’s spray, and a dunk in my home canned tomato juice (sob) was necessary to clear the air around them. They were less than happy with the bath, and I was furious about having to use my tomato juice on a dog that just couldn’t remember what happens when he teased the skunks. Some mornings on the farm were not so good.

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