Tuesday September 28, 2010- After a broken sleep the previous night catching and releasing skunk and friend, I decided I would take a moratorium on all things skunk and let the trap recover from all the action. That was until the kids and I saw another skunk padding around on the back patio at 2100 hrs. They were in adoration of the little stinker and did a lot of those annoying high-pitched baby noises, like “Awwww, he is so cute!” and “He’s adorable mommy, don’t trap him, let him stay!” Yeah kids, get the hell to bed. It was at that moment that I realized that I cannot KILL a skunk. How awful of me to have even tried and my stomach has been churning with the thought of it since. I apologize to all animal lovers and SPCA activists right now; I lost my head. The truth is that skunks are adorable and I do think they are quite beautiful. So why does something so beautiful have to smell so rotten? Parents of babies ask that question all the time, too. So my king-sized garbage pail has joined the ranks with the others at the side of my house- for rubbish only.
As soon as the kids were tucked in bed I made a bee-line for the peanut butter and jelly and headed out to the yard. I saw three skunks on Saturday night; two are gone, that leaves one (yes, my stellar math skills indicate that I am indeed a Mensa candidate). The last remaining skunk had just been spotted hovering near the spot where his mother was last seen in the trap that very morning; he was looking for his mom and I felt a little tug on my heart strings- for about one millisecond. Then I came to my senses as I recalled the three months worth of skunk smell on Sullivan and how difficult that smell was to get rid of. I set up my bait and went inside.
It is now 2300 hrs and I decide to check the trap before turning in for the night. Trap door is closed, something is in there. Good, got the last skunk. I grabbed my keys, did my car ritual with the hazards and hatch up and headed into the night to my new favourite spot for skunk relocation. This time I went even further down that little road behind Amway, way back to a huge field and wooded area. Under the invasive glare of the street lamps, I lifted the cage from the trunk and placed it gently on the ground. I pried open the trap door and waited. And waited, and waited. What the heck? All the other skunks did not waste one minute running from the trap-they don’t look back, they ran! This was odd. Whatever was in there was not leaving. Huh. I pulled the door open and secured the latch so that it would stay open on its own and walked to my car. Whatever was in there may not be too pleased and exit with a vengeance and obviously does not want to come out into the light or may actually like the comfort of his new home. Oh Lord, maybe I have trapped Chester the neighbour’s expert mouser and he is about to be set free two kilometres from home into the woods. Oh good grief, how would I explain that to Amie and Renny? I would never be able to look them in the eyes again knowing that their beloved family cat was now scrounging for food in the wilderness and never coming home again. Meh, I warned them the trap was out, if it is Chester then what can I do? I mean, it’s not like Renny didn’t do the same thing three weeks ago to some nomadic feline, who by the way, is now living in the woods down on Meg Drive somewhere....he would understand because he did it, too.
I was getting impatient with this skunk- get the hell out of the trap! I grab my umbrella from the trunk and open it up, using it as a shield of sorts. I go to the cage and tip it up a bit. Nothing. I tip it a bit more. Still nothing. I pick up the end of the cage and lift the end off the ground at a 45° angle and what pops out scared the hell out of me. Not even sure what is was but wow, was it creepy and UGLY! Good size, long rat-like tail, beige in colour, pointy snout....it was gross. Not a rat but sort of close. A possum maybe? Anyway, it took off like the blazes into the night and disappeared into the brush. I packed up my gear and headed home. I re-loaded the trap with more of my bait and did attempt #2 for the last skunk.
Wed Sept 29, 2010- Awoke at 0600 hrs to find another skunk in the trap. This time he had, like his family members before him, managed to somehow get the entire bag into the trap leaving an exposed skunk. Damn. I was groggy from sleep but knew I had to act fast before traffic started getting too heavy on Exeter Road. I grabbed a towel and started slowly toward the trap. He saw me and immediately took the alert stance, you know, the stance saying ‘watch out or I will defend myself!’. I moved very slowly and managed to get the cage covered without incident and immediately took the skunk to ‘the spot’ that I now know so well. He was released and happily waddled off into the fog of the morning, into the brush hopefully never to be seen again. I, bed head, pyjamas and all, got back into the Pro5 and drove home. Wow, three skunks and one possum in two nights. That trap is paying for itself....