Naperville Resident Anne Mele recently had her night disrupted by a rotten smell.
“When the weather was nicer, about a month and a half ago, and you could sleep with the windows open, we noticed that from under our deck a skunk would come out, and our neighbor’s dog would startle it and it would spray every night,” said Mele.
Skunks will often burrow under front stoops, decks and sheds, and although they tend to get a bad rap for their potent posterior, they’re surprisingly mellow animals.
“Generally, they’re just a docile critter. They’re not really intimidated very much; of course they’re carrying all of that hardware in the back end, the stinky stuff. So, they really don’t have a lot to fear and generally they’re pretty docile. Not always though, just like any other animal, human being, raccoon and skunks all have different personalities so one might be high strung and one may not be. But generally they can’t see, they can’t hear well so the main thing is not to surprise them,” said Tim Pettinilli, owner of Prairie State Wildlife.
But with the skunk population in Illinois rising, many residents are wondering how to handle them. Prairie State Wildlife discourages homeowners from trying to extract these animals themselves. Instead they suggest using a professional service that is trained in handling various critters.
“Nowadays, when we go to a resident, a resident’s house, we generally try to put a trap over the hole and direct the animal through the trap. Usually it works great, and we use double door traps, and the animal will walk through the trap if it’s inside the den, or if they’re not there for a few days they’ll come back and usually will walk through the trap and are captured,” said Pettinilli.
Skunks are one of the most common carriers of rabies, which is why a caught skunk is a dead skunk. Animal damage control specialists are trained to capture and euthanize these animals as population control and as a way to prevent the spread of rabies.
But Anne’s skunk, at least, is safe for now.
“Our neighbor’s dog has gotten sprayed by it twice, yet continues to bark at it,” said Mele.
If a skunk has sprayed you or a pet, the best way to subdue the stink is to use a combination of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and Dawn dish soap.
Naperville News 17’s Rachel Pierson reports.
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