Red Deer’s stinky skunk problem is the result of people inviting them into the city, says Carol Kelly executive director of the Medicine River Wildlife Centre.
“You can live with skunks quite easily, they’re not difficult to deal with,” said Kelly. “But in city situations what we’re dealing with is, between us and animal services, we’re inundated with skunks.”
In both 2011 and 2012 MRWC and Alberta Animal Services have loaned out 100 traps each year.
Though some traps have only caught one skunk, many have caught between six and eight.
“If you don’t want the skunk in your yard, stop inviting them,” said Kelly. “That’s what we have been doing, we’ve been inviting them to the city and then when we invite them, we get all annoyed because they are there.”
Skunk-friendly yards typically include a food source and a place to live.
“By leaving any open food, that includes dog food, cat food, low lying bird feeders, garbage or any food source whatsoever because skunks are good omnivores,” said Kelly. “They eat everything.”
The way to avoid accidentally providing shelter for skunks is to build yards so there is nothing for them to dig under.
“If you have sheds they should be enclosed correctly so there isn’t an opening,” said Kelly.
For those skunks digging underneath, simply covering the hole with bricks or something similar won’t have the desired outcome.
Instead, around mobile homes, sheds or even chicken coops, put tin a good three feet down into the ground, straight from the side of the shed and back fill. Stucco wire or chain link at that depth also have the same effect.
Kelly said chicken wire wouldn’t work.
Animal services currently has a two-week waiting list for traps to catch skunks. If a skunk is caught in an Animal services trap it will be euthanized. Kelly said MRWC will take them and relocate them way out in crown land west of Red Deer.