Yesterday, around 2pm, my neighbor calls me up.
“Did you know there’s a skunk in your front yard?”
There was, in fact, a skunk in my front yard. Which raises the next question, what do I do about the skunk in my front yard?
A normal person would probably think, “Oh, no! Rabies!”, and get the hell out of dodge. My neighbor and I are not normal, so we hightailed it into my front yard to investigate.
To really set the scene, you also have to know that my neighbor was wearing pink satin pajamas, a leopard print bathrobe, and muck boots. I had on a flannel shirt, yoga pants, and muck boots. It was very Jersey.
After watching the skunk for a few minutes, we came to the conclusion that it seemed confused, but didn’t have any problem getting around and wasn’t aggressive. Rabies is a concern here, we’ve had several positives last year in the township, but it wasn’t really behaving abnormally. Skunks are sometimes active during the day, especially on unseasonably warm winter days (It was 70 degrees yesterday). But, we also didn’t really want to just let it wander off just in case it was sick or injured.
At this point I had a cunning plan. I grabbed the huge fishing net I use to catch my chickens and ducks and a cat carrier and we proceeded to attempt to herd Stinky into the cat carrier.
Sadly, there is no video of the two of us attempting this bit of stupidity. We did manage to wrangle him into the carrier without getting sprayed directly. The carrier itself was not so lucky. Stinky McFunk thoroughly doused the inside of my carrier with his eau de ass.
Naturally, I had only thought this plan through as far as “get skunk into carrier”. Now I had a rather pissed off skunk in a crate in my front yard, waving his ass around and stomping his little feet anytime anybody got near him. Now what? I decided to call Animal Control. Animal Control did not call me back. Luckily, my neighbor still had the number of a former Animal Control officer who she called and was able to get info from.
The info was essentially, “Don’t bother with current Animal Control, he’s just going to drive it up the street and turn it loose.” This actually didn’t sound so bad, because at this point I really had no clue how I was going to get the skunk out of the carrier without getting sprayed. However, the old Animal Control Officer had a better idea, which was to take it to a local Wildlife Refuge.
By “local”, he meant an hour away, but having someone else get the skunk out of the carrier was absolutely worth an hour drive. It was closed, of course…. because by this point it’s 6pm, so Pepe le Pew was going to have to have a sleepover in my front yard. Oh, Joy. I did give him some dry cat food to munch on overnight, which he chowed down with relish. And by, “gave him”, I mean I stood 5 ft away and chucked handfuls of kibble through the grate. He was a little annoyed by the first couple volleys, but once he realized it was food he settled down and just ate it.
I spent the rest of the evening googling “how to transport a skunk in a crate without getting sprayed. Turns out they have YouTube videos for everything.
The next morning he was a bit more calm and I was able to get a better look at him, turns out he had an injury to one of his eyes and almost certainly couldn’t see out of it. So, that explained the confusion.
Using my new YouTube skunk wrangling knowledge, I chucked an old comforter over the crate and quickly carried Stinky over to the bed of my truck. We were off!
Today was a nice day, so I didn’t need heat or air running in the truck for the journey. I wasn’t going to turn it on even if I did, because the carrier and it’s inhabitant absolutely reeked and I didn’t want to suck any of that up into the AC unit. Judging from the reactions of people unfortunate enough to get stuck behind me at red lights, I made the right choice. I sincerely apologize to everyone I crop dusted with the Fart Squirrel I hauled across South Jersey today.
Upon reaching the Wildlife Refuge, I left the crate in the truck and checked in at the front desk. The girl’s first question was, “Is it in a crate of some sort?”
“Nah.”, I responded, “He’s just chillin’ in the passenger seat.”
And that’s how I found out that Wildlife Refuge employees have no sense of humor.
At any rate, they took my funky little friend and I also generously donated the carrier and blanket to them, mostly because there is no way I wanted to try to clean either one. I assume they got him out of the carrier somehow, I didn’t stick around to find out. They did promise to contact me if it turns out he has rabies, so that was nice of them.
All this excitement and it’s only Tuesday.