The foxes are mostly OK. The skunk nearly proved too exciting for a Sunday morning.
I was about four feet back from the window with the camera zoomed as much as I could. That fox is too close and too blasé about humans. There are also at least two kits that have become equally mellow about people. They’ve come within three or four feet of me. Did I shoo them off? Not with the vixen standing on the other side of the street. I froze until they left.
So the foxes are a known. There have also been multiple skunk sightings—or perhaps I should say scentings?—in the area. I have not seen direct evidence of the skunk(s), although I’ve caught whiffs of them before.
That was… until yesterday morning at 0645. I’d already seen two foxes. I felt pretty wary, and for that and various other reasons opted to walk in the middle of the residential street rather than on the sidewalk.
So there I was in the pre-dawn twilight, admiring the waning moon and thinking about the current drought and rain-water run-off calculations, and looking left right as well as before and behind. And saw motion in the yard to my right. Something black. Cat sized. Then it raised its tail.
I froze, backed two giant steps, and froze again. The skunk kept the tail up as it trotted out of the yard, across the street in front of me, into another yard, under a car, and then disappeared behind a fence. Only then did I start moving again.
Part of me had wanted to do a U-turn and run north flailing my arms and yelling, “Skunk! Skunk!” But that might have startled it, and it was upwind of me, so no. How close was it? Probably at least six feet away, but that’s far too close. I’d be happier if he stayed two counties east or west.
You see, Mom and Dad would probably insist that I not re-enter the house until I’d been de-skunked, and we only have one small bottle of hydrogen peroxide to go with the half-case of crushed tomatoes and two cans of tomato paste. And Sam’s doesn’t open until ten.
Urban-adapted wildlife is fascinating. Until it isn’t.