Picture this: You’re strolling back to your Castleton University dorm at night, minding your business when you run into an unlikely foe – a skunk.
This has been an almost every-day occurrence for many Castleton students recently as skunks have been prominent throughout the night on campus.
For Mason LaFlam, it’s becoming routine.
“I have now had three encounters with skunks on campus. All of them occurring on my way back to Babcock Hall from Wheeler around Huden Dining hall. I immediately darted into the opposite direction because I don’t want to be bathing in tomato juice anytime soon,” LaFlam said.
For fellow first-year student Megan Pariseau, the opposite is true.
“I saw the skunk, and I’ve had no problems with it. As long as I don’t get sprayed I’m okay with them around,” said Pariseau with a smile.
But Castleton freshman Joe Becker agrees with LaFlam. He doesn’t want any part of a skunk. “So far, I’ve seen a skunk twice, and they’ve been way too close for comfort,” said Becker shaking his head. “We are in the mountains, but any basic control over them would be nice, maybe some type of pest control?”
Even Castleton’s President Karen Scolforo has encountered the creature of the woods. She went on Facebook Wednesday morning stating “An enormous skunk has set up shop at the base of my driveway, blocking our early morning access for our (Henry’s and mine) regular walks. Because I feel ill equipped to address spray, we’re feeling like hostages in the dark. Does anyone know how to scare this guy away so we can resume our routine?”
LaFlam’s hope for the university’s solution is a little more intense.
“I would prefer them to set up traps all over campus to catch them. They are plaguing our school with stink,” LaFlam said.
ety Keith Molinari said having skunks mingling with students is nothing new at Castleton.
“We have multiple generations of skunks on campus. They know this to be their home. They stay securely in the woods until it reaches night time, which for them is feeding time, and there is no lack of food on campus,” Molinari said.
“They are so accustomed to human interaction on campus that we don’t scare them anymore,” Molinari said with a smile.
Molinari wants to warn students to be cautious.
“I don’t recommend students feeding them or petting them. I have students who take them on as pets, and I have others who run in the opposite direction. In my time here, we’ve never had a student sprayed by a skunk as far as I know of, and that’s a good thing.
“We have never made an effort to reduce or limit their presence, but we’ve never made an effort to make it their home. What will make the campus their home is human interaction on a regular basis,”