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Skunks came to my back yard last night, here in Bend, Oregon. There were five of them and it was soon apparent that it was a mother and her four kits. Back in Berkeley, CA, I saw skunks several times in the evening while running in the hills and I always gave them plenty of space to go about whatever business they were engaged in.

This event in my back yard was different because they were so very close to me, from the start, and tonight the kits came within inches of me, but then darted away before I got a clear photo of them. I am not so stupid as to intentionally allow them to get that close voluntarily, but in this case there was a sliding double-pane glass patio door between them and me. On the other hand I stayed perfectly still and didn’t startle them, so who knows, perhaps they would take a liking to me if I gave them some goodies. But, then again maybe their mom wouldn’t care for my affections.

A family of skunks in Bend, Oregon

A mother skunk and four kits walking toward me from about eight feet away.

Here is my YouTube video of the above event – Baby skunks on parade.

I went online to get some idea of skunk behavior and discovered they are reticent to spray and will give clear warning of intent by stamping their feet, hissing and rearing up on their front feet to give a clear view of their anal nozzles. If it comes to that, it is best to be clearly backing off and be ready to duck to one side. Also, having read up on this possibility I made sure there was some hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and detergent handy to wash off the oils and kill the smell. Here is a good article from the University of Nebraska on how to deal with skunks.

I have contacted my local animal control expert, but for the moment these skunks are good neighbors and an interesting treat.