my encounter with a small black and white part of nature who does NOT smell like a flower
|I was out with the dog the other night doing my “hurry up, its cold out here” dance. Then came a strange rustling sound from the darkness. After convincing myself it was just the wind in the leaves, something black waddled around the corner into the light. I jumped about a foot into the air. At first I thought it was a bear, but as it emerged from the dark I saw the white stripe running down its back. I snatched up my little dog as fast as I could thinking this is just too much nature for me. I shivered while the friendly skunk sniffed around about five feet away from me. The skunk went right to the front door as if asking to come in. He seemed oblivious to me and my whining puppy. I can see why his scientific name is Mephitis Mephitis, because when you see one you start to stutter in shock and fear!
In my head I heard my husband’s best Yoda voice saying “Where there’s one, there’s more.” I didn’t want to go around to the back of the garage, surely I would run right into a family of them. I couldn’t go in the front door either since Mr. Skunk was right in front of it. I just had to wait him out. Something spooked him and he ran down the driveway never looking back. I was sure that was the last I would see of him. I am so naïve. I ran for the house to tell the family my story. My Mom and her dog had gotten sprayed years ago, I was thankful that wasn’t MY fate.
I often drive away leaving the garage door open. It’s a bad habit. The door was open the night the skunk came wandering by, but he decided not to investigate. As I drove up my driveway one night my lights illuminated some small black creature on my porch. You guessed it, he had a white stripe down his back. I hit the bright lights thinking I would scare him off. I slowly pulled up the driveway and honked my horn at him. He stood there and looked at me, raising his tail. I read later that a skunk can spray as far as twelve feet! I got the message loud and clear. I backed off, giving him some room to get away. He did leave the porch. He went right into the open garage. After waiting for what seemed like hours, I left the door ajar and left the car parked in the driveway for the night. I don’t know if he ever did get out. I haven’t seen him around lately. I hope I won’t find a mom and kittens in my garage in the spring. I started reading about what to do about skunks. Two close visits were more than I could handle.
In my research I found that skunks will come into the house through an open doggy door and dine with the cat, finding a nice quiet closet to nap for a bit. You can bet I will not be getting a doggy door! Keeping doors closed and doggy doors locked will prevent illegal entry, the article told me. This got me to thinking. What exactly defines legal and illegal in the skunk world? I guess if he knocks on the door and I let him in, it would be a legal entry. What will happen if he enters illegally? Are there tiny skunk handcuffs for the offense? And who will come and take them away? I called the DNR as well as the city to find out just who would be coming for this illegal entry. The resounding answer was “live with it.” I also found that skunks will avoid brightly lit areas. I can see that someone forgot to tell OUR skunk that. Lights were on all over the place both times he has visited.
In the movie Bambi, the skunk named Flower is cute and a little shy. Our skunk is not so cute. Not shy, either. My friend refers to him as Flower anyways. She asks how Flower is doing. The DNR told me that he must be pretty comfortable around here to walk right up to the door. A little too comfortable, if you ask me. If you should see our skunk at your place, go ahead and keep Flower, make him comfortable. I didn’t want him in the first place! If he becomes a bother, don’t call the DNR. Don’t call the city, and most of all, Don’t call ME!