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English: Striped Skunks (Mephitis mephitis)English: Striped Skunks (Mephitis mephitis) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 By William E. Cleary

Several residents have posted comments on a local social media site about skunks invading the Riverview Heights area of Gloucester City.

Keith writes on July 17,

Once again for the umpteenth time.. The skunks had taken a two-month hiatus and now they are back AGAIN. For the last three weeks, sightings have been about five a week. Tonight I walked out of the house to see a skunk just casually walking down my driveway.. I stomped m my foot to get it to scatter. It turned and slowly walked away. Which was promising for keeping it out of my yard except the @?-!/?@ thing SPRAYED AS IT LEFT. 

 Obviously, as far as QUALITY OF LIFE is concerned, there is no help available. I suppose the city/county/state does not care if we are able to open our door without throwing up due to the foulest SMELL known to man. And it will linger for days and days and days because it is OIL based and, therefore, sticks to EVERY blade of grass/every flower/every tree branch/ it sticks to EVERYTHING!!! “ 

 Hopefully, this will give our neighbors a heads up, and not be caught off guard.  Everyone, please make sure your dogs and cats are watched ESPECIALLY at dusk till dawn.

Christina, also of Riverview Heights, commented,

I can not believe that I am forced to smell skunk because this city is overpopulated with skunks. My dog got skunked and it was financially and emotionally draining. I see skunks all the time! Tonight the outside smells so bad! I already paid thousands to have ten removed and they just keep coming.

When is the city, county, the state going to do something about this problem? This is a quality of life issue. I can't open my door. I can't open my windows. How is this ok!!! 

809966e19de38e9bdb36b2cd622349e2Last August CNBNews wrote an in-depth article about the skunk problem in Gloucester City and elsewhere. At the time, we had reports of skunks being seen everywhere in the city.

Skunks can be found all across North America and into British Columbia.  And no doubt they have lived here and elsewhere in South Jersey forever. But, as a lifelong resident of Gloucester City I can only recall seeing a skunk in our city during those 70 years maybe once or twice.

In April, early in the morning, we had the bedroom windows opened when we were awakened by a terrible skunk odor that lasted for at least an hour. Later that day one of our neighbors told us their daughter saw two skunks running across their backyard around 2 AM. She went after the skunks with a broom and they retaliated by spraying her. Why would anyone chase a skunk? Who knows?

Most recently Molly, our grand dog, who also lives in the Riverview Heights section of the city, was headed out to the backyard for her nightly business when she was sprayed.

  My granddaughter Jes said, “It was so sad to watch Molly trying to get back into the house.  At first we didn’t know what had happened to her, but then we smelled it and knew that a skunk had gotten the best of her. We had a very difficult time trying to get the smell off of her and out of our home. We spent hours cleaning and were thankfully able to get an emergency appointment at A+ Pet Grooming the very next morning. Unfortunately, there is still a faint skunk smell on Molly every time she gets wet. We have been told that this could last for several months!”

In the last month, we received numerous reports from people sighting skunks on both the east and west side of Broadway. Besides the black skunks with the white stripe, people have also reported seeing a pure white skunk running on both sides of Broadway.  Someone told us that a white skunk is actually the male of the species. We could find no such information in our internet  search to confirm that theory. 

There are many sites with helpful hints about treating a skunk problem. Here is a link to one The Humane Society.

It should be obvious you don't want to chase a skunk. If you see one, run the opposite way. Remember too, the skunk is one of four wild animals (including the fox, raccoon, and bat) considered to be primary carriers of the rabies virus and is, therefore, classified as a rabies vector species. Skunks have also been known to carry leptospirosis

 If you are having a skunk problem we suggest you call an exterminator. Don't try to trap them yourself. Put chicken wire around any open space where they could make a nest such as under your steps or deck. We provided some phone numbers to county health departments and the state health department. For the phone numbers and more information about skunks GO HERE