>> Thursday, November 5, 2009
That was until we discovered Pierre le Pew.
Pierre is handsome, small, mostly black with some dashing white stripes down his back and tail, cute little beady black eyes, and a glandular body odor problem. We discovered his presence one late spring morning, when we awoke to discover the house reeked of skunk. Upon further investigation, however, the great outdoors turned out to smell fresh and lovely. The problem was in the house. Or under it.
Oh frabjous day. What fun.
Thankfully, though, Pierre has turned out to be a decent tenant, all things considered. He comes and goes quietly, gets on great with our outdoor cat Tucker (we have actually witnessed them touching noses in greeting), and is about as easy-going as a skunk could be. He studiously ignores us when we are out doing yard work at dusk, and has even tolerated the dogs remarkably patiently. Furthermore, he doesn't come into the house or even the main part of the basement, but seems to stick to the crawl spaces. But cute though he is, I'd rather not just let him remain and await the day when he loses patience with my irritatingly exuberant dogs and sprays them. I'm just sayin'.
I haven't the heart to trap him, poison him, smoke him out, or any of the other horrid things people do to get rid of "pests". It's not Pierre's fault that our basement makes a perfectly luxurious and snug little skunk abode. I've had folks recommend moth balls as a skunk repellent but am not keen on deliberately fumigating skunk and house with napthalene. Instead, we coughed up three times as much for what essentially amounts to essence of pepper:
I spent an hour or so freezing in the cold waiting for Pierre to emerge around dusk Sunday night so I could get his mug shot for this blog, to no avail. He always emerges right at dusk. We've seen him dozens of times, poking his quivery little black nose out for a sniff before waddling across the yard in search of garbage and garden pests. But last night all I managed to get was numb toes, a frozen camera battery, and a shot of the evening sky:
Do I think we'll be that lucky? Uh, no. Probably not that lucky. In fact, what little research I've done about skunks and winter informs me that they don't truly hibernate, but rather invite all their buddies into their houses to take extended naps together in a furry smelly pile. Given how appealing our crawl spaces are compared with some of the alternatives I can envision, I suspect Pierre's not going anywhere, but is about to throw an extended house party.
How do I know if the pepper worked? I have no idea. I don't really intend to investigate. But I think perhaps I'll put off installing more insulation in the crawl spaces until spring. I just don't relish a close encounter with my stinky little friend and all his stinky little friends in close quarters where I can only back up on my knees in the dirt while whacking my spine on the floorboards above and being assaulted with offensive burning blasts of nastiness.
In case you're wondering, we do happen to keep a healthy supply of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide on hand. Just in case.