Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Your 2:30 am wake up call brought to you by....

2:30 a.m.  The dogs started to bark.
Superhusband got up to get them to quiet down.

As I lay half awake I realized that their barking was not their normal middle of the night barking (usually in response to the neighbor's dogs or a coyote on the trail or some such).  It sounded more like their barking if they find an animal in the house or in the fenced yard.  

Uh-oh.  Is there a mouse in the house?

I got up to help the Superhusband.

The dogs were in the addition that connects the house to the garage.  We call it the breezeway.

They were jumping up at that window (and doing damage to my thankfully tough Cuban Oregano plant).

The Superhusband had turned on the outside lights but couldn't see anything.  Between the hysterical barking I could hear something in the leaves under the window.

The Superhusband spotted some white fur.

I went out the front door to see what was causing the commotion (I didn't want to go out the breezeway door since that would have trapped whatever-it-was in a corner and trapped wild animals can be dangerous.

I can around the corner of the house, talking to the animal.  I suspected I knew what it was.

Striped skunk Mephitis mephitis [Yes, I know that's not a skunk.  For some strange reason at 2:45 a. m.  I failed to get a picture of the culprit.]

What a beautiful skunk, too.  The back and tail were all white - the only black I could see was on the face [skunks are variable in fur coloration.  The "striped" skunk can be all white on the back, black and white or even have white spots down the back.]

I asked the skunk to leave.  

She faced me and raised her tail.

I left.

Now I know a LOT about dealing with wild animals in and around houses.  I can discourage skunks and other critters from coming around.  If it had been a raccoon, an opossum, a coyote, a bobcat, a fisher, heck even a black bear, I could have gotten it to leave with a minimum amount of fuss.  

Skunks are different.  

I didn't want to have to bath the house inside and out with skunk deodorant [1 bottle (fresh) hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda and a dash of dish washing detergent - I got this recipe from a biologist who works with skunks - it must be made fresh, it does not store and it might bleach the color out of things but it works for the odor].

I came inside.  We barricaded the dogs away from the breezeway and turned on a fan to muffle the noises the skunk was making and eventually we all calmed down and went back to sleep.

The skunk was gone in the morning and I didn't smell anything [skunks often smell faintly of, well, skunk, since the stink sticks to their fur as well.  I have identified skunks moving through vegetation by odor alone.  This one, thankfully, didn't smell].

I think the skunk was looking for dinner at the corner of our house.

She was digging.

Unfortunately for her there is a water issue right here and a previous homeowner had put in a deep layer of rock to help drainage.

I think she was looking for the owner of this.

One of our garter snakes.  They live under the siding in two places that I know of and the wall of the house by the breezeway is one of them.  Someone recently shed.  I guess our friendly neighborhood skunk could smell him.

Yawn.  An exciting night here on The Edge.  Now I better go and get another cup of coffee and prepare to apologize to all the neighbors who were trying to sleep with their windows open while Barkapalooza was going on at our house.

1 comment:

  1. Oooooo peppi le pugh visit. Good thing she/he did not spray.