A skunky message: just leave them be

A skunk eats spilled yogurt on a Castleton sidewalk.


Hey y’all. The skunks you’ve seen around the VTSU-Castleton campus are just going after easy pickins in their natural setting, because folks throw food everywhere. 

They are superior scavengers, non-aggressive, quite amiable creatures that do not go out of their way to attack, nor do they want to spray you. 

That is a last resort effort of theirs left when being cornered, trapped, or caught by surprise, which leaves them depleted, exhausted and vulnerable. 

When outside, you are walking through their home. Please be alert and move away from them. Do not approach. They’re simply just looking for something to eat. 

They’re all denned up right now, but as soon as spring rolls around, they’ll be back for all those food scraps left around. So, the other message is please don’t litter. 

All food items should be composted properly in the dining hall. If everyone on campus could put in a considerable effort to not throw cups of ice cream or scatter fruit, banana peels, and other waste, the furry little stinkers would move on to another spot. 

Just earlier today I saw a piece of watermelon on the walkway between the Campus Center and Haskell Hall, which is exactly what they will go for. 

“Skunks are mild-tempered, mostly nocturnal, and will defend themselves only when cornered or attacked. Even when other animals or people are in close proximity, skunks will ignore the intruders unless they are disturbed,” according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

In the pictures accompanying this, you’ll see me holding a baby Skunk in Brattleboro, adorable as can be. I did so because I have worked as a volunteer transporter with Green Mountain Animal Defenders, transporting orphaned or injured rescued animals to rehabbers all over Vermont. 

In another photo, you can see an older Skunk eating yogurt in a cage, and I got to hang out with it for five or six hours next to the Vergennes Falls before dropping it off in Benson. 

The Skunk seen on the sidewalk at VTSU-Castleton is licking up ice cream that was splattered one evening last year. 

I deplore you, please don’t pick them up, or go near them, and just leave them be. I only handled them because I had to, and it’s ALWAYS with gloves. Rehabbers don’t put animals on “display.” They will help recuperate them in hopes to return them to the outside world, and anyone in the rehab world that I know would be against removing them from their naturally occurring homes, unless they absolutely had to. 

We must learn to live in symbiosis.

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