Dear Pepe Le Pew: Your kind has returned to my neck of the woods and, as much as I enjoyed watching you on cartoons as a child, the thrill is gone. Actually, in all fairness Pepe, it’s not you, it’s the reality show version of you. Unlike the song you once crooned to me, I am not in the mood for love. The cold hard truth is that you and your friends stink and your friends’ stink lingers far too long after they’ve left. Eau de Skunk is not a scent I enjoy. Not early in the morning as I sit on my deck or late in the evenings as I sit on my porch. Nor do I enjoy the anxiety having my dogs smelling of skunk upon re-entering my home.
The good news is that I am a huge advocate of the humane treatment of animals including the eviction of such foul creatures as skunks. I have researched ways in which to gently persuade your kind to relocate because I am also cheap and don’t want to have to pay someone to come trap and move them; however, if push comes to shove, a cage it will be.
For that reason, I share with those reading this column a few do-it-yourself tricks that might just help humanely persuade skunks to find a new home.
First, that composting pile that I so proudly wrote about a few weeks ago could be attracting skunks. So could any dog food, bird food or cat food that we or our neighbors have left out. Skunks are looking for easy access to water and food, so we’ve got to make it harder for them to find. I also read that making sure your barbecue grill is cleaned regularly can help to keep skunks away. I don’t think I would have thought of that.
Secondly, skunks don’t like the smell of spicy stuff. One trick that seems to sometimes work is to sprinkle spices like curry, cayenne pepper, tobasco sauce and red hot chili pepper around the area. Here’s a Hot Pepper Repellant Recipe I found online that might do the trick: Boil one chopped onion, one chopped jalapeno pepper and one tablespoon of cayenne pepper together for 20 minutes in two quarts of water. Let it cool and strain the mixture through cheesecloth. Then apply to your yard with a pesticide sprayer or a spray bottle. This will apparently deter just about any animal from an area where it is applied. The only draw back is that it only lasts for three to five days (and may also deter your family and friends as well).
Of course, we could always try to block the skunk’s return with fencing or chicken wire around any space that exceeds 4 inches.
Other suggestions are to place a bright light near the skunk’s den since they are actually a nocturnal animal (who would have known from watching your cartoons). One source even suggested stringing white holiday lights around the skunk’s den to deter their return. Another source suggested sprinkling the area with moth balls or placing a loud radio outside of the possible den area. Last, but not least, skunks apparently hate water. I’m not about to stand outside with a hose and try to spray skunks away, so my plan would be to keep a sprinkler near the skunks visitation area.
Best of luck Pepe, but not to your Arkansas cousins.