The Stinkers Are Here: Skunks In The Garden

By Bonnie Grant | October 16, 2021
Image by Karel Bock
by Bonnie Grant
October 16, 2021

The winter comes in slowly here. We have what was once called Indian Summers but should be called something else now out of respect. Summer is loath to let go, and our early fall is a joy, with cool mornings and evenings and warm middays. The final crops are coming in, so there are still fresh veggies to enjoy. Best of all is the slide into evening, where the sun is setting earlier but the day’s heat still lingers until total dark. 

Skunks in the Garden

We live outdoors almost year-round. Hence, why we have a big standing propane outdoor heater that can throw heat out around the patio. It gives a little light too, but the heat is the true pleasure. As we lounge around in the dusk, we are treated to numerous bird species and a newcomer: skunks in the garden. I hadn’t seen them before this. I’m attributing their appearance in the town to the extreme drought we have had. We aren’t the only ones sighting Pepé Le Pew, as there have been numerous reports of skunks even in the town proper. 

Skunks are actually rather darling. They look like they would be perfect cuddlers if you could pick one up. So far, no one in the feline family has had a run in with a skunk. Probably due to the fact that we bring them all in after their dinner time of 6:30. We don’t need any cats outside tangling with the wildlife that evening brings out. I shudder to try to envision bathing a cat in tomato juice (the common cure for a skunk run-in). It would be an epic battle, with the cat likely coming out on top. I am certain there would be blood on our side and the kitty would run throughout the light gray carpet, dripping bright red drops of juice everywhere. 

Skunks as Pest Control

So, it is best that our clowder comes inside before full dark. We can sip a glass of wine and enjoy the little stinkers as they prowl the landscape, looking for food. We have had an unprecedented number of grasshoppers this year. During the day, the kittens help control the population. They love the hunt and the final crunchy bites. Skunks will also enjoy grasshopper tartar. Skunks will apparently hunt small mammals as well. Our vole population has gone up too, so good luck skunkies! They will eat all kinds of insects and also some veggies. Luckily, I haven’t noticed any serious damage in the dirt farm. Most of the plants are intact and unmolested. Skunks in the garden may actually be a boon. They can help control many of the garden pests in a completely organic and natural way. 

The abandoned house next door is likely their home. The basement door has been ajar for years and I’m certain many animals make their nest in the crawl space. The evening brings out the striped animals as they hunt my garden pests. We can sit and observe in the quiet end of the day, cozy under our outdoor heater, enjoying the sights and sounds of the evening, assured they won’t approach us in their stealthy hunt for goodies. 

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