Skunk disappearance

This past weekend, while on Martha’s Vineyard, I caught a few strong whiffs of skunk on the road from Vineyard Haven to Chilmak. I had forgotten how strong a sentimental reaction that smell evokes in me and realized its been a few years since I’ve smelled skunk in Cotuit. Skunk, old garbage in the heat, and urine-like smell of privet hedges are the key smells of summer in Cotuit for me.

My theory is the coyotes have thinned down the skunk population to next to nothing; sparing me the annual washing-of-the-dogs-with-tomato-juice. Still, it was a surprise to smell the fulgent aroma on the Vineyard (where there may be no coyote population yet), and recall the story about how they were introduced by Craig Kingsbury (the person Steven Spielberg emulated with Quint in Jaws, and who’s head — Ben Gardner’s head — popped out of the sunken boat) out of spite against his neighbors.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

7 thoughts on “Skunk disappearance”

  1. skunks have anundserced bad reputation. Whe nI was young– th Fifties– PaForbes brought home a tiny kit skunk which my grandmother an mother immediatelybegan bottle feeding. In the fullness of time, we had the skunk descented. Thereafter he lived in my brother’s and my bedroom where he curled up during the day in his little “skunk cave” He lived to be about eight or nine and was the source of a lot of amusement on our block in Azusa, CA. He was an altogether remarkable pet with a penchant for fresh chicken– his being suspected of killing neighbors’ chickens would result in his being stashed away by Brothers Forbes until after the fowl murders had been forgotten.
    As domestic pets, skunks can be litter box trained and will walk on a leash or happily ride on your head or shoulders. they are playful, cuious and very cat-like.

    My two cents on skunks,
    Jim Forbes

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  2. Coyotes make it across Wood’s Hole to adjacent islands (all those lovely sheep) but have not yet survived a Vineyard Sound crossing in numbers sufficient to reproduce. This may yet happen. I’d say Nantucket alone is probably beyond their unaided reach. Maybe Noman’s too, but perhaps not if they strike out from Aquinnah.

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  3. Skunks have moved back to the city (like many empty-nester boomers). We had to trap 3 skunks who had taken up residence under our porch stairs in Cambridge this spring.

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  4. Not so sure about the coyotes being the reason. I have a skunk that raids my trash nightly, and also have a coyote den no more than 150 yds from my house. We’ve lost cats, the neighbor loses chickens, but the skunks appear to be left alone.

    It could be that they just haven’t worked their way far enough down the menu yet.

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