Friday, April 11, 2008

They're Back?

Actually, they've never left, but this is might well be the time to start worrying about skunks.

There one was, in broad daylight yesterday, walking across the street from the Matteoli's house to the neighbor's on the other corner on Trinity and E Streets in Eureka. This, at around 2:30ish in the afternoon. It's always troubling to see a normally nocturnal animal out at mid- day. Some gal in a car that the skunk passed in front of stopped and made a call on her cell phone. I got the impression she might be calling animal control because she kept watching the skunk.

So I go in the back yard and tell the wife to keep an eye out for skunks as we've had big problems with them before. She didn't seem too concerned right then, but, some of you might remember we had a family of 7 or 8 of them living under our house some years ago. Took a while to get rid of them.

About an hour or so later the wife comes and tells me there was a big skunk in our yard. It strolled in from the next door neighbor's yard. Connie says she "...told it to go away.." and the skunk went back into the neighbor's yard and under the back of her house.

I'm not sure if the skunk I saw and the one she saw were the same, although the one I saw would have to have crossed a busy E street to get here. Still, something must be afoot in skunk land for them to be so active in the middle of the day.

Could be rabies, but I'm figuring it's more likely mating season for skunks, assuming they have a mating season. That would fit in why we had a family of young and old skunks under our house one summer a few years ago. Mate now, then skunks have summer to grow up. We don't want to go there again.

I'll be calling Wildlife Services and see if we can't trap the skunks in the neighborhood before they multiply. Probably best for everyone to do the same if you've been seeing skunks in your neighborhood during the daytime.

Speaking of pests, now is probably a good time to start looking for mosquito breeding grounds so we can nip those in the bud. Well, maybe a bit early as it's still cold out. I notice last time I brought the subject up here was May 25, 2006. That's when the mosquito larvae showed up that year.

What I do is establish at least one observation post- the observation post I used back then was the wheelbarrow just outside my back door that was filled with rain water. I left the water in there on purpose: To see when the mosquito larvae would show up. Once they did, I dumped out the wheelbarrow and made a point to go all over the back yard checking for anything holding standing water and drained that source of potential skeeters.

Didn't use the wheelbarrow this last couple of years. In fact, don't remember what I used last year, but I just noticed a couple five gallon containers full of rainwater on the patio. I'll check those every day or two. Once the larvae show up I'll dump the water out and start a search for any other standing water around the yard and drain them as I always do.

You might want do the same.


At 8:16 PM, Blogger Rose said...

Doing the same here, Fred. We had larvae and mosquitos! It's been so cold I didn't think I had to worry yet.

Today was gorgeous though! SO nice!

At 7:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My not-so-bright dog got skunked again last week in downtown Eureka where I live. I always tell him not to chase the black-and-white kitties, but he's a slow learner. We got some de-skunking shampoo at the Arcata pet store after the last incident, and it worked really well. No dragging him in and throwing him in the tub or anything (which makes the house smell not that great for days). We were able to clean him up on the back porch with a bucket of warm water and some of this shampoo in about five minutes.

At 8:14 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

"We got some de-skunking shampoo".

Didn't know such stuff existed.

At 4:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Fred,
We live a few blocks from you and have been smelling a lot of skunkiness, mostly at night. My daughter saw a skunk on Thursday during the day, we thought that was weird. What can animal control do if you don't call them at the moment of sighting?

At 7:02 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Either shoot the critters yourself, as I have, or call Wildlife Services, which is actually the Federal Government trapper, Jace Comfort.

He's out of Blue Lake. He hates dealing with skunks, but he does it.

I haven't seen any skunks since yesterday. I would have called Jace, then, but he pulls the traps up on Friday. He doesn't work over the weekend, so he doesn't want critters stuck in the traps that long, since he'd have to pick them up days later.

I agree.

At 7:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a long-time Eureka home owner, let me share this. Shooting a BB gun inside city limits is against the law. How much more illegal it is to shoot, say, a .22 caliber gun at a skunk within city limits, I cannot say. But anyway, don't do it.

A good alternative, if you insist on shooting skunks, would be to catch 'em, throw 'em in the trunk of your car, drive 'em outside Eureka city limits, open your trunk and shoot them there.

Just bein' my usual helpful self! Good Luck with your Spring cleaning!

At 7:34 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

To the best of my knowledge, shooting a bb gun inside city limits is not against the law. Besides, not sure a bb gun would kill a skunk.

I bowled one over, a few years ago, with my trusty, single shot, 16 gauge shotgun. Stunk to high heaven, but it worked. No cops showed up, either.

At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eureka's Municipal Code prohibits the discharge of BB guns within Eureka City limits. The Eureka Police Department just confirmed it.

That's a good thing, Fred. BB Guns are not the harmless toys of years gone by. They are surprisingly powerful.

I forgot to ask whether discharging a 16-gauge shotgun within City Limits is also a violation of the Municipal Code. But I'm pretty sure it is.

At 3:02 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

So sue me.

At 6:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When your neighbors hear your gun go off, they will call the cops. That will be your reward for disregarding my pleasant heads-up.

At 9:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for seeing the humor in my last offering, Fred. I appreciate your posting it.


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