by Gary Hompland, Regional Conservation Officer, Idaho Department of Fish and Game
Question: "I'm having problems with skunks around my house. What can I do to keep them away?"
Answer: Spring is the time when many wild animals begin looking for places to make their summer home, find easy foraging for food, and raise their young.
Warm temperatures also mean humans start spending more time outdoors.
Now is the time people should do a thorough evaluation of their property for opportunities for nuisance birds and animals. Scattered garbage or refuse, pet food, and birdfeeders should be cleaned up and put away for the summer.
Holes in foundations of buildings or in the skirting of trailers are inviting places for wild animals to take up residence. Now is also the time to repair woodpecker holes and close up other inviting openings in your eaves for squirrels, starlings, and bats.
Homeowners must also be vigilant to prevent swallows from packing mud into the eaves of a house. Continuous removal of the mud and providing an alternate nesting site usually results in the swallows moving to the alternate. For plans for an alternate nest area for swallows contact your local Idaho Fish and Game regional office.
Most wild animals easily adapt to human food. Skunks, foxes, and raccoons will take young fowl raised for human table-fare. They are also adept at eating birdseed, fruit, and pet food left outside intended for the cats or dogs.
Porcupines pose a threat to many pets and can girdle valuable landscaping but if handled carefully can be easily removed from residential areas and released back into the wild. Once they are on the ground, a broom or long handled shovel can be used to sweep them into a garbage can. Place the lid on the upright can and transport them out of the area for release.