An unexpected visitor

14 June 2007

I just returned from a beautiful afternoon run on More Mesa, and as it was a pleasant evening I left the front door open as I went to take my shower. When I got out of the shower I discovered that the local baby skunk had wandered into my apartment and was examining the kitchen.

Removing skunks is a somewhat dicey problem. They aren’t particularly fearful, so they won’t just run away. You don’t want to annoy them too much, of course, or they will retaliate. The trick is to be mildly annoying so they’ll decide there are better places to be. Unfortunately kitchens tend to be full of interesting smells and these encourage skunks to stay.

Skunk amid the bikes

Eventually the skunk retreated, but not, as I had hoped, out the door, instead it crawled into a box behind my bike.

I decided I would give it some time to itself, hoping it would choose to leave on its own.

But it seemed to like the box and appeared to go to sleep.

After an hour in which the skunk did nothing I carefully removed the bike, picked up the box, and carried the sleeping, boxed skunk outside.

There I left it.

The skunk seemed to think this an improvement, and came out of its box after a bit and wandered off toward Arroyo Burro (where I think it makes its home).

Skunk leaving

The local skunks seem to like my house. There is a loquat tree right in front of the door and they often come there in the evening to feed on dropped loquats. Unfortunately when they are feeding I am reluctant to enter or exit my house, so I have gained some skill in the “annoy slightly but don’t frighten” behavior necessary to encourage them to move. One year I had a mother with four babies under my loquat, this year there just seems to be this one baby skunk.He’s rather cute, I hear they make good pets…

But California says it’s illegal to keep them


One Response to “An unexpected visitor”

  1. kellig Says:

    thanks for the tips. i have a mama and an adolescent who are big fans of my apple tree and the compost pile. i have three cats, and they all seem to be peaceful with each other. i leave water bowls out, because of the 100+ temps here, and heard someone drinking rather noisily a couple nights ago. the cats were all on my bed (no-one so much as raised a weary head at the disturbance) so i assume it was the skunk. i had been a bit curious about its behavior, it didn’t seem fazed at all by my presence. so. good to know.

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