Monday, July 5, 2010

Operation: Remove Skunk From Under Shed

Well hello again, world.

I have been quite busy the last month, blogging away for, which you should have already checked out given my previous post.  And although I will still be putting a lot of work into that site, I felt the need to tell you all an exciting little story from my unemployed summer.

As the title implies, my family discovered a skunk living underneath the shed in my backyard.  The following is the breakdown of our plan thus far.

Day One- Saturday, July 3rd- Approx. 8:00pm

I was walking down my lengthy backyard to observe the fireworks I heard in the distance.  They had been obstructed by the trees on the side of my yard, and I was walking toward more open ground. While I was passing my shed...I heard scratching.

For a while we have suspected that a rabbit had burrowed under the shed. For this reason (as well as the multitude of squirrels and rabbits that call our yard home) we had long since enclosed the flower garden next to the shed in small wire fencing.

When I took a flashlight to this area, however, I saw something crawling in the hole my father recently blocked with plastic.  It was black and white.

Day Two- Sunday, July 4th

The next morning, we discovered that a hole had been dug under the plastic laid atop the skunk's hole. From there, we not only filled-in said hole, but filled in any weak spots in the rock wall/fence that surrounded the garden.

My dad installed a small door into the fence, blocking off the other side (where it appeared the skunk exited the enclosure). The goal of this was to insure that the skunk went out the door, so it could be closed off, effectively blocking the skunk out of the garden. Our hope was that skunk would get the idea of "Better abandon that burrow!".  No such luck.

My dad sat outside and waited for the skunk to leave.  When it did, he chased it (from a distance) out of the backyard, and closed off the gate. With no idea when the skunk would return, we ended the mission for the evening (After making sure the shed perimeter was secure, and that the skunk's hole was blocked).

Day 3- Monday, July 5th- Revenge of the Skunk
 Part One: Upping Our Game

The morning brought bad news. The skunk had returned to his home underneath the shed.  The small beast dug a hole underneath the fence, and then again underneath the blockade of his hole. With no fear of the nocturnal animal coming out in the day light, we set-up a security light that had been kicking around the shed on the wall facing the garden, reinforced the perimeter with a stronger rock set-up, and fresh, compacted dirt. The motion-sensitive light was set to go off in one-minute bursts, however, it wasn't going to be plugged in just yet.

The plan of attack for the evening was as follows: The door to the garden was once again left open, to be closed once the skunk was seen outside the enclosure. Once the skunk was out, we would turn on the security light, and cover the hole with some spare wood-decking.My dad also laid out some flour, in the hopes that it would help us track the skunk.

Part Two: The Skunk Strikes Back

The plan played out very quickly, thanks to some very lucky timing on our part.  My parents had set up chairs near the deck, facing the shed. Around dusk, they took their positions at the Crow's Nest. After about ten minutes of waiting, out popped the skunk, right on schedule, and he began to notice that he was trapped, having exited the wrong side of the garden, away from our door.

I joined the party shortly after this. After waiting for a few minutes, we decided that I should try to circle the yard to get a look at the other side of the garden.  Armed with a Maglite, a set off.

I moved very slowly, and very quietly.  Getting sprayed by a skunk was not on my agenda for the evening. I was about two steps from where I could see the shed when I heard a blood-curdling scream come from behind me. It was my mother.

My immediate thought was that there was some sort of intruder in the house.  I turned off the light, moved it to, what I'd like to call, Billy Club Position, and sprinted for the house. As I approached I heard my mother yelling something about being sprayed. She was not, but apparently the skunk managed to bypass our security forces, loop around the deck, and brush right up against her, before jetting off into the blackness. A warning, it seemed.

My father and I immediately ran to the garden.  There, on the backside of the garden, was a freshly-made hole under the fence.

That sneaky little bastard.

I plugged up the hole, while my dad set up the lamp, and covered the hole to the burrow. I then did a sweep of my entire yard and adjacent neighbor's yards (which I'm sure must have looked very creepy from inside their homes), in the hopes of finding the little rascal. No such luck.

We all went inside, for once again, we had no idea how long it would be before the skunk returned.  It also appeared that he was onto us, and wasn't going to give up his comfy home without a fight.

Part Three: The Day Isn't Over Yet

As I wrote this, I went downstairs for an ice cream cone.  It was then my dad saw the security light go off. A quick sprint (with Maglites in hand) and we were scanning the area for our furry-little friend. Nothing.  Once again, we went inside.

That is where the mission currently stands. Here is the plan for the following days:

If tomorrow, we see evidence that the skunk has returned to his little home, we will lay out one non-lethal trap. If it is caught, we will drive the little bastard to a park a few miles away, and release him. If the trap proves unsuccessful, well...then the plot thickens, doesn't it?

I'll be back tomorrow, with pictures from the battlefield.


  1. Matt Shea! This has made my day SOOO great!! You're my hero.
    XOXOX marry me! ;)

  2. This is gold. You're oh so brave Mr. Shea! Love you!

  3. frustrating for you, adorable for me :)