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Skunk Encounter in Back Yard

Updated on July 5, 2013

A Hunting Skunk

Typical skunk with telltale white stripe down the back.
Typical skunk with telltale white stripe down the back. | Source

Urban Encounters with Wild Animals

I can think every populated region on earth has wild animals that encroach on human populations, occasionally. In the Rocky Mountains where I have lived most my life, there are many local animals considered dangerous or at least pests including rattlesnakes, skunks and occasionally bears.

Most generally, animals fear humans more than humans fear them! However, this is not the case with skunks or bears! Others like rattlesnakes act when they feel cornered, but want mouth-size morsels. Many animals are helpful since they keep insect and rodent population down. Bears take down deer and other animals too unfit to pass along in the gene pool...but a nuisance bear that habituates to humans will be killed.

However, as people steadily encroach on former animal territory, animals still need a range within to hunt to survive. Thus, they will also encroach on person's houses, ranches, etc. The following story illustrates one wild animal encounter at home with a former husband and my children and dog. We all experienced surprise and a bit of awe!

Our "Visitor" in the Backyard

Before a particular suburb of a large city became huge, it was known that a family of skunks lived by a train track crossing with a ravine close by. It was always a hassle to be stuck behind a long train when your nose knew very well that a skunk and a vehicle had a ‘disagreement’ of sorts.

Our house was quite a few blocks away, however. We never expected to actually see one.

One evening, our dog, Lucky, was outside and absolutely going berserk with barking and chasing around. This dog was not the smartest one in the world and my ex often scolded him for excessive barking. Concerned that the neighbors would grow annoyed, he called out, “Shut up” to Lucky several times. The commotion continued perhaps 10 minutes and my ex went outside to scold in person.

There was a tool shed in the far right corner of the backyard backed by two neighbors’ fences. Oddly, Lucky was going from one side to the other of the tool shed that was accessible to him. He was too large to fit between shed and fences.

My ex now is wondering if some cat had gotten stuck. He told me to get a flashlight, which I did straightaway, the largest, brightest one.

He called me again, loudly, and told me to get Lucky inside and into the garage, pronto! I grabbed Lucky’s collar and pulled him inside, since he was reluctant to leave the scene. Then ex backed away from the shed slowly, backward, and went into the house. His face carried the most shocked demeanor I had see up to that time.

Then, he explained to me then that he had shined in the flashlight and saw “the biggest, reddest angriest eyes” of a skunk with tail raised and waving, Luckily, both he and Lucky avoided the dreaded spray!

To top this off, the skunk then very confidently walked out into the brightly lit backyard and paraded all over it, back and forth for some 15 minutes, tail up, to our amazement behind closed windowsl Then it left.

I asked ex how it ever got over the wooden fencing. He replied that they have claws like daggars and can get over wooding very easily. What an educational night for me!

Skunk sprays coyote

Other Dangerous Rocky Mountain Animals

In one of my other articles, I wrote about my ex's father actually capturing and profiting from selling rattlesnakes in Hunting Rattlers as 1930s Employment. I would say this is quite dangerous indeed and you would be well advised to avoid such adventures.

Recenly, there was a report about a woman attacked by a bear. Sadly, the bear returned and Animal Control officers had no other choice than to kill it.

Amazon Books on Skunks

Always be Cautious With Wild Animals

Whether an animal approaches your home or you sight see in State and National Parks, it is always wise to remain aware.

Park Rangers are excellent sources of information about dangers, particularly not disposing of food properly, which makes the animals approach humans, potentially having to be euthanized.


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    • Laura in Denver profile image

      Laura Deibel 5 years ago from Aurora

      They certainly know who will end up the worse for an encounter! Thx!

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Great read Laura. My daughter and I just saw two young skunks last weeks frolicking between a 30mph street and a golf course fountain, bold! I always thought they were nocturnal but I think it varies.


    • Laura in Denver profile image

      Laura Deibel 5 years ago from Aurora

      I am so glad it has never happened to a pet. Lucky WAS lucky that night.

    • Bella DonnaDonna profile image

      Bella DonnaDonna 5 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I also hate cleaning my dog up after this. At least he learned after the first time! (PU)

    • Laura in Denver profile image

      Laura Deibel 5 years ago from Aurora

      They certainly have nesting areas they like and sadly, yours appears to be one.

      Do you think a hub on de-stinking pets is worthwhile? There appears to be disagreement on the best way.


    • profile image

      Sharon B. 5 years ago

      You are very lucky, we get skunk smell at least once a month here. Occasionally, our dogs need a special bath after one of those nights ;(.

    • Laura in Denver profile image

      Laura Deibel 5 years ago from Aurora

      Thanks! You can smell a skunk for miles! Ughh!

      If they get a nest, then you have to get special cages to capture them!

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      What a fascinating hub about this cocky skunk!! Living in Scotland we don't have skunks, so I've no idea what the 'dreaded spray' smells like - but I'm told it's appalling!!LOL! Not surprising that you were glad when ex and Lucky'd didn't get a shower!

      This was a thoroughly absorbing and enjoyable hub + voted up!!