Residents must join skunk battle

Not a fan of eau de skunk? Carol Kelly, Medicine River Wildlife Centre executive director, said residents must do their part to keep unwanted wildlife off their properties.

Not a fan of eau de skunk?

Carol Kelly, Medicine River Wildlife Centre executive director, said residents must do their part to keep unwanted wildlife off their properties.

Alberta Animal Services will no longer respond to skunk calls because they want residents to be proactive in keeping the skunks away this year.

In previous years, the centre and Alberta Animal Services shared the duties of trapping, euthanizing and relocating skunks with the wildlife centre.

Now residents can either call a pest control company or Medicine River Wildlife Centre if they want the skunk removed.

The centre has seen an increase in calls for “skunk issues” in the last week because skunks are in the thick of mating season.

“They majority of people say they don’t want them killed,” said Kelly. “What we’re saying is you have to play a part in this. We can’t keep going in and trapping and removing because the problem will continue.”

Roughly 100 skunks visit Red Deer neighbourhoods each year.

Kelly urges residents to take a good look at their yards to see what they can do to reduce the attraction for skunks.

Kelly said the more garbage, cat and dog food left outside, the more attractive the yard and porches are for skunks. She advises residents to contain their trash in the house or in a shed until garbage day and to clear up their yards.

Kelly said residents must change their habits and yards if they do not want to find wildlife in their yards.

“We as a charity are stretched right to the end of our limits,” said Kelly. “Now we’re taking on even more work because we will be the only one that will help you so you better help yourself.”

Kelly said skunks have gotten a bad rep over the years.

She said they are non-aggressive and excellent mouse hunters.

“Just because you see a skunk, you shouldn’t run off screaming into the night,” said Kelly. “If you scream and yell when you see a skunk, it’s more likely to spray you because you are scaring it.”

Kelly said a skunk will only spray if it feels threatened or is in danger. Kelly said skunks only have about two tablespoons of spray and require several days to build up its supply. Kelly said they don’t want to get rid of their spray because it’s their only defence.

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