What It’s Like to Feed Skunks

We have been feeding “our” skunks for years now. A few generations of them have lived under the shed over the stone wall from our backyard, and we have all become used to each other. They adore Purina Cat Chow, and each evening we put a pan of it out underneath our back porch, along with a pan of water.

They know us so well that by now that they usually are waiting by the time I open the cellar door with their dinner. I tell them, “Ok, kids, I’m going to put your food down and you’re not going to spray me, all right?” So far, the system works. By now they don’t even wait for me to go back inside before they waddle out to eat.

The regular diners are Blondie, a large mostly white skunk, Bushy, another good-sized fellow with a tremendous tail, and three Stripeys; Stripey 1, 2, and 3; all with a thin white stripe running straight down their foreheads to their noses. They have their own pecking order at the pan; anyone who commits a breech of etiquette gets a nip or a shove to put him in his place.

Other than that, they behave nicely and rarely leave a scent. I personally find them adorable; they wobble from side to side and have surprisingly delicate cat-like paws. Their manners (once they settle on who eats first) are quite civilized, and they crunch appreciatively but not loudly.

When they finish their food, they usually wander out to our garden in warm weather, and dig out grubs for dessert. (They are welcome to them!) In cold weather, they retreat back to their shed and snuggle up together.  When there is a lot of snow, my husband thoughtfully snow-blows a walkway for them.

Before we all go to bed (my husband and the cats and me, but not with the skunks), I always lean over the porch and tell them goodnight, and that they are welcome anytime.

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