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Skunk in basement 
12th-Nov-2007 08:29 pm
Local: Quincy house pre-purchase
[Copied from email I just sent to a mailing list.]

Hi. So I was just down in my basement and I heard some rustling. Turns out there's a skunk in the corner. My renters have been moving stuff out of the basement, so I'm guessing it got in when they left the door open or snuck in while their backs were turned.

Any advice on getting a skunk out of a basement without getting sprayed? My first thought is just to open the door and hope it leaves, but what if it decides it likes it better indoors (as I do)? And what if it decides its family should come join it?

13th-Nov-2007 01:59 am (UTC)
From what I've seen, skunks seem to wander around outside at night. Make sure there is no loose food in the basement, open the door to the outside, and leave a bowl of something yummy (yogurt, maybe?) outside, several yards from the door. When it gets dark in the evening, keep an eye on the food, and when the skunk goes outside, shut the door to the basement from the inside. Might take a couple of tries to get the timing right. Skunks generally only spray if they are feeling threatened, so just don't go near it, and you should be fine.
13th-Nov-2007 02:11 am (UTC)
I was going to suggest this, as well. Lure it out with skunk food. You might want to do a google search to see what they eat.

If all else fails, you can call cooperative extension.
13th-Nov-2007 02:14 am (UTC)
Google says:

Food: Skunks are true omnivorous mammals. They eat at night and will consume insects, rodents, frogs, crayfish, bird eggs and nestlings, plus fruit, berries, and other plants. Skunks will eat nearly anything they can find or catch.

13th-Nov-2007 03:01 am (UTC)
Also garbage. When I was growing up, we had chickens. We collected food scraps in a bucket to feed to the chickens - and of course, this attracted skunks (assuming there was anything left in the evening after the chickens were done with it, though they started getting bolder and even showing up during the day).
13th-Nov-2007 03:47 am (UTC)
Skunks rilly rilly like cat food.

I second the idea of leaving the door open with a tasty snack outside. It's probably just seeing if it can find any good bugs or mice and will get bored of the basement soon enough.
13th-Nov-2007 04:35 am (UTC)
Thanks; that’s what I did. Kind of tricky to keep an eye on the food (yogurt with honey! Lucky skunk!) because the basement bulkhead door opens underneath our deck, but I’ll check from time to time. I’ll also call Animal Control in the morning and see if they have any advice.
13th-Nov-2007 02:01 am (UTC)
When possums get into my parents' place, it's much the same thing. That and if they get scared they'll rampage around and destroy stuff.

1) Make sure there is a clear path to the outside by leaving a door open wide. If necessary, use a plank to make a runway to a window.

2) Turn all the lights in the house off. Outside is therefore bright, enticing, and more importantly OBVIOUS.

3) Stay well away, so that the critter doesn't get scared. It might take a couple of hours, but it ought to head out pretty soon because it's in strange territory and really just wants to leave.

Good luck!
13th-Nov-2007 03:48 am (UTC)
Check out http://www.cooks.com/rec/search/0,1-0,skunk,FF.html

I'm sorry; I should not think of such things but sometimes I just can't help it.
13th-Nov-2007 04:33 am (UTC)
Ditto on the "leave the door open at night" thing.
13th-Nov-2007 09:03 am (UTC)
You've gotten lots of good advice already. My only question is, "Is it cute?" :)

As counterpoint to skunk stew, let me offer you Skunk Haven: http://www.skunkhaven.net/

Yes, some people actually keep skunks as pets! When they are de-scented they are no stinkier then ferrets. OK, yeah, so that's pretty stinky. :) And, no, I'm not suggesting you keep a wild skunk as a pet. I'm not that evil. (plus that would be illegal)
(Deleted comment)
13th-Nov-2007 02:04 pm (UTC)
Where I live "Animal Control" always says, "Catch it yourself. Then call us back and we'll come take it away."
13th-Nov-2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
That is by way of NOT HELPING! Um, yeah, Beowabbit, good luck getting rid of the critter.
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