There I was, strolling along on a late winter’s evening. The wind from the south-southwest carried the usual suburban evening scents of dryer sheets, people immolating, er, grilling meat, a smoker, two fireplaces . . .the usual. With sunset and low humidity, the temperature dropped rather nicely, down to the upper 50s, enough for a jacket but also cool enough I wasn’t perspiring much. Strolling along at a brisk pace, watching traffic and thinking about not too much at all, besides the occasional loose dog. La de da, la di lee, ho hum . . .

PhEEEEWWWWWW!! Mephitis mephitis in the neighborhood! Run up wind as fast as you can!

Back away slowly, then run, he's armed!

Back away slowly, then run, he’s armed!




I walked as briskly as dignity and shin-splints would allow until I passed the scene of the olfactory attack. I knew we had the foxes (seen three weeks ago not far from Redquarters), possums, the occasional coyote passing through, but not skunks. Well, at least one is in the district, and he was pretty ticked off at someone or something.

About one a month seems to be set off, or flattened, in the quarter or so of Amarillo that I frequent. Usually it is a faint whiff, a wrinkled nose, and “eww. Skonk.” One morning someone triggered a skunk directly up wind of the school, probably while driving the pasture, and it came in through the A/C, occasioning much moaning and wincing, and puzzled looks from students who had not been exposed to Eau de Skonk before. This was probably less than two blocks from my location. Eyewateringly close, bitter, everything you do not want to have on your clothes or car. Or dog. And challenging to get rid of.*

It rained the next day and I didn’t smell the critter again, although I suspect I might. Especially if it was a female, and there is a male around, and we get . . .

Look! Striped kitties!

Look! Striped kitties!

There’s some urban wildlife I can do without.

*The funniest episode that I can remember of the TV series “Evening Shade” was when the main character and his wife were trying to go on a romantic cabin stay, just the two of them, and he found a skunk. And they didn’t have any tomato juice.

11 thoughts on “Skunked!

  1. Ever read “A Plague of Sorcerers” by Mary Frances Zambreno?

    A young wizard-in-training accidentally gets a skunk as a familiar.

    The skunk isn’t a problem for him and his old grandmother/aunt but just imagine what happens to the bully that’s been targeting our young wizard-in-training? šŸ˜ˆ

  2. My mother had a polecat (skunk) as a pet, when she lived in Canada. They thought the vet had descented it. Then one day, there was an aggressive loose dog… and everybody found out the vet had missed one of the glands.

    The poor polecat didn’t understand why Grandma wouldn’t let it back in the house after the dog scared it…

    My father, on the other hand, gave me the advice after having a family of skunks den under his barracks: “Baby skunks are the cutest things you’ll ever meet. Shoot them in the head.

    • I’ve heard hysterically funny (twenty plus years after the fact) stories about skunks in crawlspaces under houses, and a dog decides to investigate or someone with more guts than sense says, “Heck, I know how to get rid of them. Watch this,” and you can guess what happened.

  3. At my previous institute of higher,…something but probably not learning, I lived close enough to ride my bike. I was coming home one evening after grading exams or some such soul-killing activity, and the street I was on wasn’t particularly well lit along this stretch. But is was smooth and well maintained, so I didn’t usually have a problem. There were houses on both sides of the road, but there was a field behind the houses on the left. I noticed a thin white thing undulating across the road from the left on an intercept course to my direction of travel. My initial reaction was that it was some type of snake, but I’d never seen one that color and the thickness to length ratio seemed off as did the way it was moving. As I was almost to it I realized I was seeing the strip on a skunk’s back and the undulation was caused by it’s walk.

    I hit the brakes so hard the back wheel left the ground. I hopped off the bike and reversed directions without turning around, just ran backwards carrying the bike. Thinking the animal had gone to raid a flowerbed sin some yard, I started home on the left side of road. No sooner had I got going than here he came again, crossing back the way he’d come. I repeated the braking maneuver, this time without coming off the ground. He went his way, and when I was sure we weren’t going to have a three-peat, so did I.

    • Oh yeah. The other thing I’d be worried about is rabies. All the more reason to let Pepe le Pew go his own way in peace while retreating at flank speed.

  4. Oh, and I have it on good authority from a former roommate whose dog tangled with a skunk that tomato juice doesn’t work.

  5. Dawn dish soap, Hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda in about equal amounts, mix into a paste, and smear all over the sprayed area. Let sit for a few minutes, rinse and repeat at least twice. You might have to re-apply again a few hours later.

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