Everything sublime is as difficult as it is rare. Baruch Spinoza

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I saw one of these scurrying along the east pasture this morning. I periodically see skunks, once in awhile I will see babies as well. Every time I do, I have the same sensation. My blood pressure changes, my breathing becomes rapid and shallow. I suffer anxiety.

I have a skunk story. I had not been very long removed from the land of skyscrapers and concrete on the morning I went into the barn to feed my much smaller group of horses. There in the aisle was a skunk. I have no idea how it got into the closed barn, but it did. Not only was it a skunk, but an obviously rabid skunk.

I, the city girl, stared at it in disbelief for a moment before it came at me. There was a plastic manure fork on hand and I used it to fend the animal off. It wandered drunkenly around and then turned again. I did the only thing I knew to do, I opened the front door and proceeded to pitch the thing out. My barn is 130 feet long and I had to pitch it about 115 feet of that length. I was throughly sprayed.

I got it out, shut the door and tried to calm my racing heart. I don't own a gun and wouldn't know how to use it if I did, but I intended to call a neighbor to shoot it, but it seemed to be gone. 

My greyhound Nellie wandered about with intent all day, looking for something. I assumed she was catching the scent of the now departed skunk. She showed me I was wrong in the afternoon when she came trotting out of the barn with it, shaking and killing it as I watched. Sight hounds are not to be fooled with.

All dogs and horses needed to be boosted for rabies, Nellie and I needed to be washed with skunk scent remover. And I have had apprehension every time I see one. 


  1. Both I and my dogs have walked into a skunk(s) on many occasions...never fun. A rabid skunk is even worse!!! That was one of my biggest fears when I lived in the land of skunks and raccoons.

    Thanks, Sandra, You have given me another much needed reason to be thankful I am stuck in the desert….no skunks, especially no rabid skunks

  2. OK, I have heard stories about skunk stink. No skunks here & no rabies either. Two things to be heartily grateful for.

  3. man, we had one the size of a wolf (ok, maybe a coyote) in our attached garage in SW Colorado - it sprayed when the dogs cornered it - we went to teach that day smelling - uggggg.

    I think we have one living under the garden shed right now.... poison, trap?

    luckily no rabid animal run ins though

  4. Yuk! Our neighbors back in New England had a family living right under their house for almost a year. They could not get rid of them, they kept having babies!

  5. I would have died if that happened! We have had a dog sprayed by a skunk and it took days to get rid of the smell. I still cringe at the thought of running into one for fear of that lingering smell.

  6. The smell was never the issue. I realized I would get sprayed, although I sure didn't like the idea. The reason I feel anxiety is I am fearful of another rabid skunk. I had a confused, irrational animal charging me. I had to fend it off and I was a city girl! This was my first super hero act. I just did it. (patting self on back) : )

    A desert is not free of its scary things. Rattle snakes! I used to live in El Cajone!

    I am interested in the fact that Oz doesn't have rabies. I wonder why?

    I have a live and let live attitude toward wildlife and my life. I hate to kill anything, but if it is causing what is mine danger, I will protect mine. I saw the skunk go under a building. I don't care if it lives there, as long as I don't find another rabid one.

  7. I'm told our ultra strict quarrintine laws have kept rabies out. Just the same we're over run with rabbits ...& cane toads...so we didn't get it all right.

  8. Ah, you would have been driven mad in my cabin. In the time my eldest child and I moved there to join my partner of now these many years there were spotted skunks (western civets) living under the floorboards. We learned to speak softly, because civets will stamp their delicate feet before spraying. When my son was 6 and 7 the little civets came in and out of the main room. The babies are very cute. My boy named the mom Sylvie and her baby Starlight.

    And it gets better (or worse!). When I was giving birth to my daughter, Sylvie came into the loft to check things out. My midwife's assistant--well, her reaction was not positive. I paused between contractions and said "oh, it's Sylvie, don't worry".

    But when my mom came to visit we felt we'd better make sure the skunk entrance ways were properly closed..and so they were.

    Takes all kinds, right? You can send your skunks out west; we'll watch over 'em for you.

  9. we once had a rabid skunk at our place when i was as kid, he had gotten himself down the basement steps and couldn't get back up them. i remember sitting on the inside of the basement, watching him pace back and forth in the little space at he bottom of the stairs. a bunch of the cats came and sat on the steps and watched him pacing too. he never sprayed, tho', we were lucky. we called the game warden to take care of ours. he brought a cage and once the skunk got in it, we called him and told him to pick it up. :-)

  10. skunks calmly walking in and out of the house. An interesting image!


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