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Can you smell that in South Bend?

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Are skunks taking over Michiana?  More and more of these nocturnal critters are being spotted in area neighborhoods out before dark.  A few people have even called our newsroom to ask if we could find out why.

Dawn Wiggins with Critter Control in Elkhart is surprised by the sudden increase in skunks. Although, she said now is the time when young male skunks start looking for new places to call home.

“We believe the racoons had two possibly three liters this year," said Wiggins. "So whether skunks had an extra breeding season as well we’re not really sure.”

The skunks can't help the fact that they stink to high heavens, but you can help yourself from getting sprayed. Remember a skunk only sprays if it's being hurt or scared. If you come across a skunk, try using baby talk, it will calm them down.

“You don’t want to try to agitate them," said Wiggins. "Keep looking at them, keep talking to them, and back away from them.”

Rich Scott is a service technician for Critter Control. He's also noticed the increase in skunks but doesn't mind the extra business.

“The first stop I have everyday is a skunk pick-up," said Scott. "So then I have to drive around all day with a skunk in my truck all-day long.”

He traps skunks with a blanket because they won't spray what they can't see. Plus, the blanket makes them feel safe since they prefer the dark. Once they're trapped, he encourages the owner to do a deck or shed exclusion. It's a metal hardware cloth the animals can't dig around.

And if you're wondering where they take the skunks, don't worry.

"We have release sites," said Wiggins. "Kind people who help us put wildlife back where they belong. As long the animal appears to be healthy and not injured in anyway, they pretty much accept everything we have.”

 

Just in case you get sprayed before pest control arrives, there's a secret concoction and its not tomato juice.

 

"You need to use a shot of dish soap, a shot of baking soda, and a large bottle of peroxide," said Wiggins.

If you suspect skunks in your yard, sit outside and toss Cheez-Its under your deck or in the holes. The cheddar cracker is their favorite treat! 

 

 

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