Grand Rapids native Christopher Kemp has penned a piece for Outside Magazine that highlights the continual encroachment of the skunk on the urban environment.

So the question becomes, as a listener so succinctly put it, if skunks have invaded your backyard, what can you do about it?

36th and Clyde Park isn't exactly rural space. It's the middle of suburban Grand Rapids. A man called the show this morning and said he saw five skunks in his backyard in that neighborhood, and he was seriously wondering what he could do about it, short of paying for an exterminator.

This whole discussion started when I brought up Kemp's article, which made it sound like skunks have invaded Grand Rapids faster than the hipsters in Eastown did.

In my hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan, a pleasantly average city of 190,000 residents that sits two and a half hours northeast of Chicago, nothing too exciting ever seems to happen. But in the hot summer months, a thick, immovable cloud of skunk odor envelops the entire city. Skunks are everywhere. I have seen them ambling up my driveway at night toward my trash cans—like sturdy black cats, marked with two broad white stripes that run the length of their oil-black sides. My neighbors Cindy and Monty Burch own a dog—Robinson, an affable brown Labrador—that was sprayed by skunks nine times in the summer of 2012 and five times the summer before that. Dog owners across the city have experienced the same problem. Only the trees are safe—striped skunks are reluctant climbers.


This made it seem like a crisis was at hand, but as a city resident who frequently walks and bikes my neighborhood in Northeast, I hadn't seen or smelled anything out of the normal, occasional skunk smell. My question was simple, is this really a big problem?

Callers to this morning's (Tuesday) show seemed to think so, although I didn't detect alarm in their voices. They all shared stories of their dogs running into the "back and white kitties", sometimes on multiple occasions, but most considered it a fact of life of living in West Michigan.

While I appreciated the peroxide over tomato juice clean up tip, I felt bad for the aforementioned Wyoming resident who seriously seemed to not know how to handle his backyard infestation of skunk-dom.

So how DO you get skunks out of your back yard cheaply?

In the meantime, here's a solution to skunk smell problems.





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