We were late getting to bed Wednesday night. I was just brushing my teeth at midnight when I heard bumping and thumping coming from underneath our mobile home, accompanied by the terrified squeals of a small animal. The commotion lasted a minute or two, then all was quiet. In the quiet there came first a whiff, then the overpowering odour of skunk rising through the floor.
We opened all the windows, turned on the ceiling fans and a couple of air cleaners, and lit some candles. We wandered around the yard, contemplated sleeping in the car, wondered if we should wake our children and claim the spare bedroom in their home. Finally, at 2:00 AM we settled down on the bed in our spare bedroom where a fresh breeze was coming in the windows. We fell asleep, then at a quarter to four I awoke and realized the breeze was much fainter and the smell much stronger.
I got up and searched the internet for help. I came across a suggestion that placing bowls of vinegar around the house would absorb the smell. I found the vinegar jug, poured vinegar into small bowls and placed them through the house. Then I got a blanket and laid down in the recliner and got a couple more hours sleep. In the morning I sprayed Febreze® air freshener in the areas where the odour seemed the strongest, then we left to spend the day in the city.
Now let’s back up a couple weeks. I noticed a hole dug through the gravel banked against the trailer skirting on the north side of our home. I scraped the gravel back into place, wondering if the culprit was a gopher, or perhaps a skunk. The hole was promptly opened again. Then Angus, our black Siamese cat began appearing in our house without being let in through the door. It didn’t take long to figure out that he would run down the hole, travel half the length of the trailer in the dark, then come up through the hole where the water pipes come up and from there enter the house through the bathroom cabinet in the central bathroom. However, was he the one who had dug the hole in the first place?
I placed a squared off block of wood over the hole. The next morning there was a hole at the end of the block and Angus was appearing in the house again without being let in. He appeared quite proud of his ingenuity. We were still wondering if Angus was the one doing the digging, and what to do about it, when we found out the hard way that a skunk had also discovered the underside of our mobile home.
The question now is, who was the attacker? In our wanderings of the yard that night, we saw that the hole had been freshly enlarged by some digging creature. The two main killers of skunks are automobiles and great horned owls, neither of them having a sense of smell. Both are frequently seen and heard on and around our yard, yet I can’t imagine either going down that hole.
The next list of suspects is coyotes, foxes, badgers and bobcats. We don’t have bobcats around here, cougars maybe, but not bobcats. We hear coyotes howling every evening, and have seen foxes as close as a mile away. Yet I believe a badger is the most likely culprit.
We have slept in our own bedroom the past two nights, and slept well. The odour has largely dissipated by now. I suspect the open windows and ceiling fans did more good than anything else. The bowls of vinegar remain in every room. I don’t know if they have done any good or not, but the odour of vinegar is vastly preferable to the odour of skunk.