Stinky skunks cause problems for central Ohio residents

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Some central Ohio homeowners are landing in a stinky situation; skunks are hanging around their homes.

Director of Wildlife Education at the Ohio Wildlife Center, Stormy Gibson, offered some insight into the increasingly stinky season saying, “around February 14, that’s Valentine’s Day for humans, but it is also Valentine’s Day for skunks.”

Gibson explains that mating season for the skunks is in full effect. “A male will release his scent and if the female is attracted to that male, then she’ll release her scent and then he’ll know where to find them,” she said.

Dublin resident Deb Brinker says they’ve had skunks around their property for years, but one of the critters chose her porch as a permanent home this season and it’s been nothing but stinky. “There was frequent spraying which permeated the whole house,” she said, “and we had to open the windows about five different days.”

Brinker admires the cute critters and didn’t want them to be harmed, but even her love for wildlife couldn’t mask the stench that continued to overwhelm her home, "it was really bad, enough to make you nauseated and cause headaches,” she said.

“I didn’t want to call anyone who would kill it or trap it,” said Brinker, “it’s very important to me that it's humane because I really love wildlife,” Brinker said. She ended up calling SCRAM! with the Ohio Wildlife Center. “I really think skunks are awesome critters it is just I don’t want one living under my house,” she said.

Ohio residencies are getting caught in the track, as skunks often seek warm shelter under sheds and decks during the colder months.

“Everyone thinks skunks are supposed to be in the forest. Well, they have adapted very well to living around humans, a lot of times humans are doing things we don't mean to be doing to attract the skunks,” Gibson explains. She says one of the biggest targets are bird feeders, and the seed left around the bottom attract skunks who are searching for food.

Gibson explains that raccoons exposing trash might attract skunks and other rodents as well and says to always “make sure your trash cans have lids and bungies on them because any wildlife will take advantage of anything.” Another reason skunks live near your home may be vacant groundhog holes, so chasing them off may only worsen the situation. “What animal do you want to live near you, its probably going to be the groundhog rather than the skunk,” she says.

She also says that skunks have bad eyesight and may spray you or your pet because they're scared. Her advice is to call SCRAM, an animal management service provided through the Ohio Wildlife Service. Gibson says to take care of them now before they have babies.

“Some other companies might come and trap the animal and euthanize the animal but that's not going to solve the problem because another skunk will move back in under your deck or porch. We do it humanely, we evict them from the area and we seal up the hole where the animal is getting in,” Gibson said.

Deb Brinker is thankful for that seal, that's left her home with one less stinky resident. “I hope he found a more natural place and not someone else's porch,” she says.

The initial fee for a SCRAM! inspection is $89. For more information, click here.

If your dog or cat is sprayed by a skunk, The American Kennel Society says a mixture of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dish soap will work or you can take your dog to the groomer or the vet.