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Advice about Skunks

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Smelling skunks a lot more frequently

June 2014

Seems like the last five or ten years, skunks have become a problem in Berkeley. I never noticed them before that. Now I smell them regularly, sometimes once a month, sometimes once a week, and sometimes even more often than that. The smell disturbs my sleep and even gives me headaches sometimes. I am wondering what has changed that I now smell them so frequently. Anybody have any idea? And what about getting rid of them? Is there any hope that we could get them out of the neighborhood? What do you suggest?

I love wildlife, even skunks. I saw them outside once when I was in the backyard in the evening and they are truly beautiful. But I don't want them living in this residential (almost urban!) area. Any ideas you have are appreciated. Thanks. Anon


We also have skunks in my urban neighborhood, which I mostly know by smell but last summer we had two sightings in our yard. The smell can be faint to strong and quite unpleasant, though it doesn't cause me headaches or other problems. My only concern is that one of my cats will get skunked.

Here's my perspective- I'm just glad that we humans haven't managed to banish wildlife from our towns and cities, that we haven't killed them all off with our blind egotism that ignores ecological balance. All critters have their place in the natural world and we have certainly overstepped ours. The critters were here first, and I believe that it's incumbent upon us to live in peace with them, however inconvenient that may be at times.

I'm very glad that you also appreciate wildlife and am very sorry about your headaches. But even if there was a way to round up all the skunks and vanquish them- there isn't- doing so would be a mistake on many levels. Cece


Hello - I have lived in Berkeley for 60 years. I can't recall a time when we didn't have skunks. There presence may vary a little from month to month but I don't believe they are a new phenomenon. I don't know how you 'get rid of them.' If there is a way, I am eager to hear it. I would particularly love to keep the deer away from my hydrangeas. Skunks, raccoons, flower eating deer, fruit eating/bulb digging squirrels, possums, our urban housemates. urban fauna galore
Are you sure you are smelling skunks and not pot? I used to also think it was an influx of skunks, but have since realized that smoking pot happens any and everywhere and all times of day and night. Just a thought. sensitive nose
I missed the original post, but a good resource is Gary Bogue's book, The Racoon Next Door, about living with wildlife in an urban setting. It doesn't have any magic answers, but helps to put into perspective ways that we can all live together. My neighbor used to get skunk traps from the city, and when he would catch one, the city truck would come out and gas them in the truck right in front of our house. I hated that little death chamber. They nested on my neighbor's property and it was a problem. J
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this page was last updated: Jul 3, 2014


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