Living with Skunks

William F. Wood

How to coexist with skunks. You can live near skunks it you don’t alarm them. Several year ago, skunks started raiding my hen house for eggs. The hens were locked in at night so to gain access the skunks burrowed under the walls. I put a floor under the house to discourage them. When they tried to get in, they made a burrow large enough to live in. For the next year or so, they would appear most nights just after dark and scavenge any of the table scraps the chickens had not eaten. In the year, they did not spray once. After dark, when I went over near the pen, I made noise so they knew I was approaching. They readily left and never threatened me with even a lifted tail. After I got rid of the hens, they disappeared.

The American naturalist, Ernest Thompson Seton, wrote a chapter “The Well-meaning Skunk” in his book Wild Animals at Home (Grosset & Dunlap, New York, 1913, 226p.) During a summer at Yellowstone Park, two skunks took up residence under the floor of his cabin. These skunks became quite tame and at times came into the cabin in the evenings. They never had occasion to spray their defensive secretion and were viewed as beneficial. Seton wrote. “They cleaned up our garbage, so helped rid us of flies and mice.” For many years after this he allowed skunks to live in close proximity and even photographed his young daughter playing with these skunks, “full-grown specimens in full possession of all their faculties.”

via Living with Skunks.

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