6. Are skunks dangerous?

We heard scratching noises. We had always wondered if a skunk was going to fall down into the window well, and it turns out, a young skunk had fallen down into the window well. When it saw us, it hid in a cardboard box that the kids had left there.

Dillon put a board down so it could crawl out, and we went to sleep. The next morning, I went out to see if it had climbed out. I knew it may still be in the box, but I thought it had climbed out already. I got into the window well, picked up the box, and stuck it up on the ground.

The young skunk was still in the box. And it eventually crawled out and wandered away, quite unconcerned about everything that had happened.

I have been quite close to skunks recently. I’ve also been close to a chipmunk (it ran into our house and I trapped it so it could go outside) and a fawn (it got stuck in our fence, but when we got close to it, it finally pulled itself free). But the skunks are different: they haven’t seemed to care much that I was there.

I was afraid of skunks like many people are, because skunks smell horrible. But I’ve never heard of a skunk spraying a person: only dogs and cars.

People still hate them: I once was walking past my neighbors house and I heard a commotion. She was yelling something and brandishing a broom, and I realized that he was trying to get a mother skunk with three young skunks off of her porch. And the skunks did eventually run away (though not very quickly).

One time, we had a skunk wander onto our deck while we were sitting there. It barely noticed us, and went on its way. Skunks can’t see very well (though they can hear and smell), so they can be a bit oblivious of what is going on around them.

From a skunk’s point of view, humans are deadly: we run over skunks all the time with our cars, and then people often trap and shoot skunks because they hate the idea of them.

But skunks aren’t dangerous to us: they aren’t aggressive. They give lots of warming before they spray–it’s a defense mechanism, not a weapon. And the spray isn’t poisonous; it’s just unpleasant. About the worst thing that they do is spray dogs, and that’s sort of the dogs’ fault.

Skunks aren’t the enemy here.

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