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SKUNKS...
ya gotta love 'em!

July, 2009
Did I tell you about the skunk in the house? This year?
I was outside watering because it was extremely hot in the house, it was about 10 pm.
I saw a skunk go in my back door and didn't worry about it, they have done it before and always come back out...an hour later I went in the house, fixed something to eat, watched television, went to bed at midnight with my cat Dopple.. At two a.m. I woke to the sound of crunching..I thought it was Dopple eating some dry food..I sat up, Dopple was still on my bed and looking over at the dresser..there was a skunk eating dry food out of his bowl! We didn't move, we just watched, I thought it was great! When the skunk wandered off, I got up and went to the bathroom, while I was sitting there, the skunk came out of the room next to me...I looked at him, he looked at me and walked past with his tail down...when he got to the bathroom door, he raised his tail as if to say, "I saw you, I know you are there. Don't move!" So cute!!!! Not wanting him to feel trapped I opened the front door and went back to bed. At 4 a.m. I heard a scratching noise and looked down, right beside my bed there is a wicker chest, the skunk was right next to it..about a foot away from me and Dopple, when I moved, the skunk left...I like to think that he was going to climb up on the bed with us...I didn't get a picture of the skunk, but this is the same night I saw two foxes in my yard for the first time...and got a picture of one.

fox

~

June 2008
There has been much new construction in my area within the last 2 years. Unfortunately this results in less wildlife in my backyard...(and I don't stay up as late as I used to)
However, I am happy to report that tonight I opened my door to let the cat out and there was an Opossum on my front step...she was going through the remnants of pnut shells and kitty kibble I had been tossing to the crows earlier...

~



One hot summer night
I opened the door and saw these sights...

Skunks September 2004

Skunks love Graham Crackers, so do raccoons, however I have noticed that skunks just eat the crackers, while raccoons insist upon dipping them in the water bowl first! I have tried very hard to teach the raccoons not to do this, to no avail..sigh.
As you can see, the skunks like to drink after eating the crackers...(got milk?)

Graham Crackers!

~

Click to Hear
Skunk Chitter

five skunks

Dog food? Cat food?
Who cares? It's ALL good.

standing skunk eating

Big ones


skunk with front feet in food dish, drinking water from second dish

Small ones

small skunk eating

I always know when the skunks have arrived.
The "CLANG" of the metal dish resounds throughout the neighborhood.


skunk and opossum

O.K. So skunks aren't the only ones who tip over their dishes.

Imperial Order of Opossum, Click to visit 'Possum Pages

baby possum, talk about cute feet!

How I came to love skunks...by watching them in my own yard. I didn't run screaming into the night when I met my first skunk face to face. I stood still and said "Hello there, cutie" (and they are cute, no doubt about that.) The skunk acted like I wasn't there at all and went about it's business, survival.

According to Dan Edge, wildlife biologist with the Oregon State University Extension Service,
"Skunks are mild-tempered animals that will not defend themselves unless they are cornered or harmed, they usually provide a warning before discharging their scent, stamping their forefeet rapidly and arching their tails over their backs."
"Skunks are highly beneficial to farmers, gardeners and land owners because they feed on large numbers of agricultural and garden pests," said Edge.
Eating both plant and animal food, skunks may consume fruits, grasshoppers, beetles and crickets and insect larvae like beetle grubs and cutworms. They also have been known to dine on crayfish, field and house mice, moles, rats, and carrion. They are very good at digging.
(Or aerating the soil, as I like to call it.)

Mama Skunk
It seems to me, when looking into a skunk's eyes, that they carry the weight of the world. They are the saddest eyes I've ever seen, skunks have always been and continue to be persecuted unjustly, and it shows.

A beautiful mama skunk brought her 3 babies and introduced them to the water bowl, food dish and ponds. Baby skunks are the cutest things! Mama was a beauty, her tail was not just striped but had speckles of white all through it.
A few days later, I saw mama on the side of the road. She looked like she had stopped in her tracks to take a nap, one foot ahead of the other, head turned to look up to my yard.
It was early afternoon and not unusual to see her in the daytime, she often came up from the deck, morning, afternoon, night, it seemed to make no difference to her and the babies.
The only reason it bothered me was because of the neighbors.
What if someone saw four skunks galavanting around my yard or driveway in broad daylight? No doubt they would raise a fuss!
Anyway, poor mama was dead. I just looked at her and cried.
Sweet beautiful little mama. What about her tiny babies? I could just see them waiting and waiting for mama to come home,
I was thankful for one thing, that she had brought her babies to my yard and introduced them to this roadside diner and rest stop.
I told her that I would do my best to take care of them but it wasn't going to be easy, mainly because they are so afraid of humans and that's the way I want them to stay.
I found the three of them huddled in a tiny hole by the garage.
I brought a VERY shallow bowl (baby skunks are extremely short!) for them to drink from and some small puppy nuggets for them to eat,
they didn't come back out for hours.
The next morning they were eating and drinking, yes, the next Morning. Either mom didn't have time to teach them about day and night or they were just used to coming up in the morning and afternoon as their mom had done.
Now they are fat and sassy, chasing my cats around the yard.
They stamp their front feet at the cats and the cats run..sometimes they stamp their little feet at me but I just stamp back and they go on about their business.
By the way, when a skunk stamps it's feet at you, and looks ready to lunge, the skunk is extending a courtesy warning.
It is telling you to back off.
I appreciate this gesture and pay attention to it.
A skunk won't spray unless it feels it's life is threatened and after all, if it is stamping at you, it's facing you, and when it's facing you, you still have time to move!)
On those nights when I am watching them play and forage, I think what a good job mama did teaching her babies in the short while she had with them, I look at them and say "Your mama is very proud of you." And I wish she were still with them. But since she can't be, I thank her for bringing her babies here, to this roadside rest stop and diner.
5/8/01
The grandchildren have arrived!
In the early morning..5:45am to be exact, I went outside and ran smack into a little black and white fuzzy thing. I stayed still, the skunk continued looking for a 'midnight' snack...
That night I saw two black and white fuzzy things..I don't know if they were born under the deck but it's possible..sometimes during the day I get a tiny whiff of skunk, babyfarts..reminds me of baby Godzilla blowing smoke rings!

6/01
Watching the grandchildren
I learned a long time ago, when putting food and water out for wildlife, scatter the food. It helps avoid fighting. Last night the two skunks were side by side, both eating dry cat food, both screaming, squabbling, pushing and shoving. While watching the skunks, it's best to not disturb them by making noise...remember the last time you weren't supposed to laugh?

11/02/01
The Last Grandchild

This little peanut hound is the only one still living under the deck.

Home is one step down and on her right, under the deck.

I called to her from the stairs.."SweetFeet, come and get a peanut."

She looked around, very worried, then decided to come up and get the shelled peanut.

Should I?  Heading up, but carefully looking around, very worried.

She was so successful, she decided to follow a trail of peanuts all the way into the house.


Sweetfeet follows a trail of peanuts, the cat is not amused.

under the cabinet

Then finds peanut crumbs under the cabinet.

grape vine

Correction...There Is Another.

SweetFeet and a Surprise

This new skunk, "Surprise" is extremely shy, I hardly ever see her, she is a bit smaller than Sweetfeet and doesn't have the white spikey fur around her tail. I don't know if it's possible but could it be her sister or daughter? Do they hang out together? Hmmm..I've seen the raccoons do that..

Since November of 2001, I've been 'allowed' to feed SweetFeet peanuts and scratch her neck...but last night, January 1, 2002, I heard the screaming, yelling sound of skunks mating...I called out the window.."Not tonight! She has a headache!" As usual, they ignored me, (at least it doesn't take long,) then a whiff of skunk entered my room, so now I may not be able to hand feed SweetFeet anymore. Maybe one of the great grand children will allow it.

(If they don't run into any YOPLAIT containers, that is...)

1/3/02
Hooray! I was wrong about SweetFeet.
Tonight I was allowed to feed her pre-peeled, roasted in the shell, unsalted peanuts while scratching her neck.

skunk

The Four O' Clock Skunk
March 2002
I don't think Sweetfeet or Surprise lives under the deck anymore, but one has decided that four o clock in the afternoon is the exact time to eat. She came racing down the road the other day, ran into the yard through the hole in the fence made just for wildlife, and ran right past me to the nearest food dish (which was empty). So I filled it, the water dish and left her to eat in a frenzy. (A nursing mom?) At first I thought she was Sweetfeet, then realized she is much smaller...Surprise!

Dancing                  Eating

dancing  eating

Next day, same thing. And the next.
Surprise likes to play and eat on the deck, when she hears a noise she looks to see where it came from...(this time she left her tail in the water bowl)

ever vigil, she forgets tail is in water bowl

...then runs under the log crib, goes down a hole in the deck, to her old homestead and hides for a while. One day I forgot the new schedule, no problem, she just came in the back door and ate the cat's dry food.

April, 2002
The afternoon visits have stopped, now I only see a skunk if I look outside late at night, which I hardly ever do anymore.
Take care little girls & thank you for letting me into your life...

Sweetfeet in Driveway 8:30am

April 19, 2002
Went to get the mail this afternoon, found 4 little skunks drinking water and looking for food, they had come out of the deck hole where Sweetfeet lives. I was so afraid they would see me and run, it was all I could do to get my camera and take this picture...I know it's a terible picture but I was shaking like a leaf!

And following in the fine tradition of all the previous skunks, they are out and about in the afternoon.
Bless them.
About 8:pm I decided I had to meet the babies, so I sat quietly on the stair.


4/21/02

One by one they came out, so cautious! One by one they came up the stair and two of them sniffed my slipper, I was able to touch each one. Mama Sweetfeet was busy eating in another area of the deck...she came over, checked out the situation, and went back to her dining spot.
Skunks, Ya gotta love 'em!

  

little round skunk

skunk at my feet, April 2002

4/21/02

And if I thought that was great, the next night, I was outside filling the water bowl, three Smaller skunks appeared and one tiny mom. Surprise?

Baby discovers non-functional stair light    Two skunks and a water bowl

August 10, 2002
Sweetfeet came up to me on the porch last night, she took awhile to come around but finally she allowed me to feed her peanuts and scratch her neck. I think she's pregnant again, so I hope this story will be continued and continued and continued...

Late August, 2002
It's early evening, not quite dark, too hot to be in the house. I'm sitting on the step watching the raccoons by the log pile. Mama skunk has just walked by me on the way to the back yard, she stopped and I gave her a peanut. A few minutes later, I hear a chitter-chitter, exited, loud, frantic. Two tiny skunks came tearing up through the hole in the deck, they seemed to be terrified. I told them it was alright, they weren't lost, Mama would be back in a few minutes...They were so frightened they both ran up to me and put their front paws on my leg....without even thinking, I picked one up and held it to my neck, rocking, scratching, cuddling and telling him everything was alright...the second baby stood with his paw on my leg and watched. After a few seconds, we all realized...something...I'm not sure what. The one I held wanted down, just like a cat. The other one started chittering again and they both ran off after Mama. I swear, I wish there had been a wildlife photographer there at that moment. I went in the house, talking to my self.."that was SO great!!" "I loved that!!" It was great and I did love it and will always remember that moment.

Sept. 28, 2002   6:00pm
Finished watering and feeding. Came in back door calling cat to dinner. Heard a noise, thought it was the cat. It was a tiny skunk, in the house, under a chair, eating the cats food. The skunk was horrified, I was apologetic, the cat was annoyed. Skunk left, cat ate dinner, I smiled.

The Return of the Skunks
May 2003 thru Oct. 2003

Does this sound familiar? I get up from the computer and go towards the kitchen, hear a noise, see something skitter out the door. Go to the porch and look.."Sweetfeet? Sweetfeet, is that you?!?
Flick on the outside light, look down the stairs..a skunk..is it Sweetfeet? I gather peanuts (unsalted) and start shelling them, sit on the porch and wait for the skunk..

Random skunk pics 2003
Pics are mouseoverable

The food container, upright   The food container, conquered

The approach  This guy, who I am going to call 'Tree', looks like he is trying to move the doorframe, he is actually going down the steps after being in the kitchen.the floor will need mopping

It's been a strange skunk year, one was broken, really broken and could hardly walk, it was the hottest night of the summer. I went to the porch with a blanket to throw over the baby skunk, I believe one front and one back leg were broken or badly hurt. I stood in the middle of four other skunks and three raccoons and watched the baby, all the other animals watched the baby and me...I knew this was strange, they don't all usually wait around for a human to throw a blanket. I made my move, the baby skittered and rolled until it reached the hole in the deck. I was so disappointed, poor little guy, maybe I can catch him next time, if there is a next time. I looked around, all the animals were still standing by and watching me....as I said, it was a very, very hot night, and I think all of our brains were fried.
Two nights later there was another injured skunk in a shed, but I couldn't even get near this one, so I left food and water and hoped for the best.

Several mornings later as I was headed down the front stairs, I saw a skunk tail. It seemed like the skunk was going under the deck and had stopped....Nope, it was dead. There was no smell of skunk and no smell of death. How did it get there? Who was it? I couldn't see anymore of the skunk and to get near it, I would have had to stand on a yellow jacket hive.

~

Skunks and Yoplait
The Fund for Animals
Q: There is a skunk with a yogurt cup stuck on his head. What do I do?
A: Unfortunately, certain yogurt cups(Yoplait) have a very dangerous design, the top has a small opening and rim which entraps a skunk's torpedo-shaped head. Skunks caught in these cups soon become dehydrated and oxygen-deprived, and starve to death. The skunk won't spray anything he can't see, so hold the yogurt cup firmly, in a gloved hand. Upon feeling resistance, the skunk will pull back and his head should pop out. Stand motionless, and the skunk will not see or spray you. Another less "hands-on" option is to put a laundry basket or milk crate over the skunk (with a heavy rock on top) to keep him from escaping and contact a wildlife rehabilitator. Likewise, skunks will accidentally lodge their heads in dumpster drain holes that aren't properly screened. Contact a rehabilitator for assistance in this circumstance.
Urban Wildlife
Coexisting with Wildlife Fact Sheet #6

YOPLAIT Container Redesign Still Lethal to Wildlife
SACRAMENTO -- Claims made by General Mills that its redesigned YOPLAIT yogurt container does not pose a risk to wildlife are refuted by the
Animal Protection Institute
on the basis that the lip, as well as the container's narrow tapered shape, remain virtually unchanged.
The lip acts as a locking device on animals who have become trapped while pursuing yogurt left at the
bottom of discarded containers. Skunks, with short legs, lack the dexterity to reach behind their ears
to push off the container, and often die as a result.
API also challenges General Mills' assertion that the company incorporated the concerns of animal advocates in redesigning the container.
In a May 1998 letter to the yogurt maker, API veterinary consultant Dr. Elizabeth Colleran wrote, "I cannot conclude that [the new design] will eliminate, or even reduce, the incidence of wildlife entrapment."
General Mills has estimated that "between two and 14 skunks" were killed last year because of its container. However, evidence suggests that the actual number may be in the THOUSANDS.
While a complete count would be impossible to obtain, animal protection organizations are collecting national survey data which indicate the problem is pervasive and not limited to one geographic area.
Margie Wilson, a dispatcher for San Mateo (CA) County Animal Control, reports receiving between three and five calls per week during the summer and, in fact, recorded two incidents in her area alone between July 19 and July 22.
A humane officer in Wisconsin has reported similar findings, and a survey conducted in the Cape Cod, Massachusetts area showed that 9 of 16 towns had documented incidents of wild animals trapped in Yoplait containers.
General Mills' own correspondence contradicts the company's claim that it was informed of the issue only "10 months ago."
A letter to API dated February 9, 1998, from Larry Sawyer, Director of Government Relations for General Mills, stated, "This is an old issue" and referred to a study on wildlife entrapment conducted for General Mills in 1978.
"Twenty years is more than enough time to change the design," said Camilla Fox, Wildlife Program Coordinator for the API.
"We have tried to work with General Mills, but unless worthwhile changes are made, we may have no other choice but to call for a boycott."
I say let's give it a try, I am not a Yoplait consumer but General Mills is a huge company with many products...

API ARTICLE

I recently sent an email to YOPLAIT asking that they change the shape of their containers,here is their response:
Dear Friend:
Thank you for contacting us about the Yoplait container. Yoplait is very interested in protecting and preserving all wildlife. That is why we have joined with the Humane Society of the U.S. in a program called "Don't Trash Wildlife". This program helps educate on the responsible way to dispose of food packaging so as not to endanger wildlife. The "Don't Trash Wildlife" message is to:
Rinse and Recycle. Rinse all recyclable glass and plastic containers to remove any food remnants or odors. Even containers you're going to throw away should be thoroughly rinsed before disposal to avoid attracting wildlife to your trash. Cut and Crush plastic containers before you put them in your garbage or recycling bin Close and Cover. Make sure all plastic food wrap is rinsed and contained inside a closed garage bag. Never throw plastic packaging in open trashcans. Put garbage out for collection in plastic or metal trash containers with secure covers. Currently, on each classic shaped container of Yoplait made, is printed "Protect Wildlife - Crush Container". A fully crushed container is much less likely to endanger animals. We realize that it may not be possible to address this issue through education and labeling alone. Therefore, we are continuing to study potential design and packaging material changes in the Yoplait cup itself.
Sincerely, Jen Rock General Mills Consumer Services
(they are continuing to study-animals are continuing to suffocate)
But they now have a disclaimer on the package and a warning to consumers, so it certainly isn't their fault or responsibility...
Can you believe Yoplait still refuses to change the design of its yogurt cups—even though animals have died and continue to die horrible deaths after getting their heads stuck in discarded containers. Their reason is consumers of Yoplait would not be able to find their favorite yogurt if the packaging were changed, implying that their customers are not too bright.
Contact:   General Mills, Inc., P.O. Box 1113 Minneapolis, MN 55440
800-328-1144
YOPLAIT CONTAINER REDESIGN STILL LETHAL TO WILDLIFE
Yoplait finally changed the container but not the shape, there is now a lip on it so animals may use their hind feet to push the cup off of their heads, swell, skunks cannot do this...nice try...(NOT)...turn the thing upside down!
Yoplait Consumers TOO STUPID To Switch
Apparently Yoplait consumers are too stupid to find the product should the container size, shape or color be changed. And if they could not find their favorite yogurt, they might switch to another brand, because, after all these are very busy people with no time to waste in their busy, important lives. And then Yoplait would lose money. After all, a few skunks, squirrels, cats or what have you, suffocating slowly in Yoplait containers is not much to be concerned about. Skunks are pests anyway.
Recently Pepsi Cola stopped advertising in bullfighting rings due to consumer pressure, (loss of revenue due to decreasing sales.) It seems to me that General Mills might be convinced to change the shape of its containers if we use the same consumer pressure. If these were human deaths, Yoplait would be sued stupid. In fact, I would like to see at least one of the pet owners come forward and sue Yoplait, or the person who threw out the container
"without first thoroughly rinsing."

grape vine

The Regal Swee'pea surveying his kingdom
Swee'pea

According to Shamanism
Skunk's Wisdom Includes:
Understanding how to "walk your talk"
Reputation
Sensuality
Understanding energy flows
Self-respect
Courage
Will-power
Self-confidence
Shamanism: Working With Animal Spirits

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Missing Link:
Skunks
"One of the most misunderstood and discriminated against species of animal in the world, skunks have had an unfair reputation for a very long time. In truth they are adorable , gentle and lovable creatures that if taken the time to get to know them can make great companions. I have created this site so people can learn the truth's about them and see pictures of them both in the wild and as pets and view video's about them so people can see them for what they really are and not for what the racist stereotypes say they are."

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The Fund For Animals
Coexisting with Wildlife Fact Sheet #6
Solving Skunk Problems... The Sweetness of Skunks

Skunks Are Cool.com
Skunk Info, Links and Pics

Meet Charlie,
a "Double stripe Champagne"
Robin's SKUNK World

&

Tweek from Skunkville, sleeping with head down..awwww

Tweek, Sound Asleep
SKUNKVILLE

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Magnolia's Story
By Deanne Durrett
Author of Nonfiction Books for Kids and Adults
"Tragedy struck Magnolia's family soon after her birth. Her mom and her siblings were killed. My brother and I rescued the tiny survivor and gently laid her by the milk-swollen belly of our Mammy Cat. Mammy Cat's litter was about five days old and a little more mature than Little Survivor. Her eyes and ears were sealed and her white stripe adorned almost hairless skin. Still, she knew milk when she smelled it and one furry belly lined with two rows of nipples was as good as another to a hungry baby. Mammy cat raised her head and watched as Little Survivor began to nurse. Mammy sniffed, twitched her whiskers, sighed, and stretched out to make more room at the table...

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Irresponsible & Ignorant
Thursday, 4/19/02, a KSFO Radio talk show host was telling his audience that there is a skunk bothering him at night. Seems the skunk comes around every single night and sprays his entire house because...the skunk hates him.
After several minutes of telling his audience how much he hates skunks..."Why did God make skunks? They have no right to live. I hate them!" (He went back to this topic over and over again in the course of his three hour show.)
Savage recommended putting out a bowl of anti-freeze for skunk problems, "The mama skunk will suffer and die a horrible death, the babies will also suffer when mama comes home and dies in front of them with her stomach rotting out."
If you think this is a dangerous, cruel and irresponsible remark, please let him and his station managers know. Remind them that dogs, cats and other living things also drink anti-freeze and die.
Phone Savage: 1-800-449-8255
Fax Savage: 541-664-7143
Email Savage: paulreveresociety@yahoo.com
Link to host Email (registration required) ksfo560.com
KSFO’s President and General Manager, Michael Luckoff
KSFO’s Operations Manager, Jack Swanson
KSFO Hot Talk 560, is an ABC owned and locally operated radio station.
EMail: ksfordb@abc.com
Listener Comments: 415-954-7449
In-Studio Fax#: 415-658-5401
KSFO TALK LINES:
415-808-5600 415-357-0126 415-834-0127
510-808-5600 510-834-0963 510-834-1031
408-808-5600 408-275-0106 707-808-5600
MAILING ADDRESS:
HotTalk 560 KSFO Radio
900 Front Street
San Francisco, CA 94111

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~

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