Skunks are always around on the prairie, but with luck we hardly know it because they pursue their diet of insects, worms rodents, lizards, frogs, snakes, birds, eggs, berries, roots, leaves and grasses without disturbing us.
Our current resident skunk is properly polite, as befits a wild denizen of the plains. We’ve seen signs of occupancy in disused badger holes on the outskirts of our hill but the Striped Stinker has never forced a confrontation with the dogs. Most importantly, the Odiferous One has not come into the dog pen, nor established a burrow under the porch or garage, as the breed likes to do.
At the New Year, however, we discarded a few crab legs in the compost bin, a tall plastic affair backed into the railroad tie fence near the house. That night, the Deft Digger burrowed under the plastic framework of the bin, into the compost, and straight through to the top, gobbling crab legs all the way. Rummaging for more, the skunk shoved most of the compost into scattered piles around the compost bin.
A few nights later we set the game camera and captured the Skunk Minuet. Sharp-eyed viewers may also spot a mouse that was benefitting from our discarded scraps as well (in the last photo). Scroll through the pictures quickly and the Smelly one appears to be dancing.
Meanwhile, Jerry put the compost back, filled in the hole, and piled rocks in front of the bin.
That night, Sir– or Mistress– Skunk dug in through the back of the bin, and scattered compost. Now our compost bin is solidly ringed and braced with rocks on all sides.
Will this stop the Furry Fury? We hope so. But we’re setting the camera to keep track of the next round in the dance.
Linda M. Hasselstrom
Windbreak House Writing Retreats
Hermosa, South Dakota
© 2018, Linda M. Hasselstrom
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