When you think of skunk removal, most people envision setting traps. Most trappers also envision setting traps which is exactly what I did for Mrs. Herbert. (All names have been changed to protect the smelly.) When trapping failed, I was forced to think outside of the trap, if you will. This is how it came to be that I excavated a skunk from below someone’s house.
Mrs. Herbert called All Star Animal Trapping because her pest control company rodent proofed the crawlspace and trapped a skunk below her house. Let the record state that it is never a good idea to seal up a hole in a structure without first inspecting the area to be sure there is nothing living in there.
As you can imagine, the skunk was creating quite a stink. I slunk right under that house ready for action. I observed a lot of feces so I could tell the skunk had been a tenant there for quite some time. He was about to be evicted for nonpayment of rent. It didn’t take long to locate his burrow. I saw him inside but then he backed up far enough that I could no longer see him or reach him. Not a problem.
I set a trap outside of the crawlspace door with plywood on each side of it to make a funnel. The skunk would have no choice but to walk out and straight into the trap. The skunk had been sealed in there for a couple of days so I knew he was hungry. Typically, they go out every night to find food. With the trap in place, I went home expecting a call form Mrs. Herbert the next morning reporting the skunk was in the trap and ready to be picked up. That call did not come though. How unusual. They almost always get trapped the very first night.
My next course of action was to drag the trap into the crawlspace and place it right in front of the burrow. I wanted to cinch the deal so I baited the trap with canned cat food which gives off a strong aroma that a hungry skunk couldn’t refuse.
It’s very rare that I set a trap under a house because then I have to come back each day to check it since the resident isn’t able to monitor it. I didn’t mind since I was sure that the skunk would be in there the next morning. The skunk was not in there the next morning and that, I certainly did mind. What was going on under that Bermuda Triangle of a house?
Mrs. Herbert asked me what the next step was. I was wondering the same thing. I paced a moment and scratched my head before declaring that I was going to dig the skunk out. “Can you do that?” she asked. I had never done it before but I didn’t see why not. A skunk den isn’t very deep. Usually, I can reach all the way into one. This one I knew was a little deeper than average but it shouldn’t take much to dig it out enough to be able to reach the skunk with a snare rod. (A stick with a loop on it like dog catchers use.) Pfft. Boy was I wrong.
Picture it. I’m lying on my stomach under a house with a miniature shovel about 2 ½ feet long. My plan is to widen a cantaloupe size hole enough that I can catch this skunk in the act of being skunky. I’ve never dug a hole on my belly before it was going to be a small hole so it couldn’t be that strenuous. Once I dug out a small nonstrenuous hole, I realized that cheeky little skunk thought he was Bugs Bunny trying to dig a tunnel to China!
I removed enough dirt to see that there was a tunnel going straight back and down. I stuck my snare rod in and realized the tunnel was longer than the rod. What in tarnation? I had no choice but to make a skunk size hole into a Kritter Kim size hole. Just like that, I went from Trapping Goddess to Skunk Miner Extraordinaire. I ended up digging a downward sloping tunnel big enough for me to fit my entire body into that was five fee long.
What happened after five feet? Well, at five feet the skunk decided to make a left turn at Albuquerque. His tunnel turned to the left then rounded out into a very comfy den. The skunk wasn’t at home watching tv and mocking me as I had been expecting. He was actually quite frightened and pitiful because he had a rat snap trap stuck to his foot. That’s why he didn’t go in the trap! He was injured thus behaving unpredictably.
He sprayed 6 inches from my face but fortunately the volatile end was pointed the opposite direction so it wasn’t a direct hit. The fumes were overwhelming in the confined tunnel. I snared him just below his front legs and pulled him out. Pulled him out sounds easy and graceful. What I actually did was back myself out of a tunnel filled with skunk spray, two inches at a time, while dragging a skunk.
We eventually made it all the way out from under the house and into the backyard. I removed the trap from his foot and both Mrs. Herbert and the skunk felt better about their current situation.
A true account written by Kritter Kim, Animal Trapper for All Star Animal Trapping. ©2019