P80304Coons are not much of a problem in the garden; but they can be a problem around the home. They scatter trash, eat dog and cat food, and can be dangerous to dogs and cats. They get into places we do not want them, including basements, attics, and even our homes. Once inside, they can cause significant damage.

That is why they sometimes need to be trapped. No one wants to do it, but it is sometimes necessary.

One problem that we did not consider when putting out a trap for a coon who was getting into the trash was that we might not actually catch the offending coon. Actually, not catching the coon was not as much of a problem as who we caught instead.

Pepe got to the trap first.

Pepe was none too happy about it.

Neither were we.

You see, Pepe, who is difficult to see in the picture, is a skunk.

Normally, skunks are more destructive to gardens than coons are. They dig grubs out of lawns, but damage the lawns at least as much as the grubs do. They pull out freshly planted seedlings because insects tend to congregate right underneath. Although they are good at controlling some types of plump insects among tough perennials, they are not very careful about getting to the insects that they pursue in more sensitive young plants and vegetable gardens.

However, this was in a situation where landscaping is minimal, and there is no lawn. Skunks had not been a problem . . . until now.

Once in the trap, we did not know what to do with Pepe. No one wanted to get close enough to open the trap. We could not leave Pepe trapped without food or water. Because Pepe had been harmless, we could have released Pepe on the spot, but instead decided to relocate Pepe nearly a mile away, on the far side of Zayante Creek, where there is more insects and water. It was a good distance between us and Pepe, but not so far that Pepe could not return if Pepe wanted to.

I got close enough to the trap to cover it with a trash bag, and then put the covered trap into a trash bag so that it was wrapped almost all the way around. Surprisingly, Pepe did not seem to mind the procedure, and watched calmly. The bagged trap went into the back of a pickup, and was taken to the relocation site. Of course, no one came with me to help.

Once at the relocation site, Pepe did not want to leave the trap. I had to literally dump Pepe out; and then step aside PROMPTLY. Once on the ground, Pepe, who had seemed to be about as big as a big kitten unfolded into a huge fluffy skunk with a big fluffy tail! I have no idea where all that fluff came from!

I had guessed that Pepe would be thirsty from his incarceration, and would be in a hurry to get down to the brambles near Zayante Creek. Instead, Pepe just stared at me sadly. I tried to explain the situation to Pepe, but my French is lacking. Apparently, Pepe did not understand.

As I turned and started to walk back to the pickup, Pepe ran past me and got there first. Pepe stopped at the open door, and looked back at me as if requesting help getting in. This was not good. I stayed back, which annoyed Pepe, who had been a good sport through this entire procedure so far. Pepe sort of hopped about with his fluffy tail flailing, as if frustrated that the floorboard of the pickup was just out of reach.

I tried to explain in English and really bad French with maybe a bit of Italian and Spanish mixed in where I could not remember the words, that the relocation site should be satisfactory. Eventually, Pepe seemed to agree to give it a try. Pepe slowly waddled away and downhill to Zayante Creek. In the second picture, that black and white blotch to the left of the roots of the alder tree is Pepe, looking back at me sadly.P80304+

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42 thoughts on “Pepe

    1. Of course it would be okay with me. Pepe would not mind either. He has been enjoying his notoriety.
      When I was a little kid, my brother and I knew that the Eiffel Tower was in Paris where Pepe lePew lived, but we thought that Paris was in Marin County just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. I don’t know where we got that idea, but it worked for us. Now I know that Paris is in France in Europe, and that there are no skunks in Europe. They are actually some of the nicer wildlife, as long as they are not startled. Although they can do some damage in the garden, they eat grubs and will take all the snails out of lily of the Nile. Coons are not so nice, and get rather belligerent.

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      1. In extreme cases they euthanize them, especially the big males when they want to break away to form their own troop which doesn’t help either. This is what the group in the above link are trying to prevent.

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      2. Oh, that is really horrible! I am certainly no animal rights activist, and I believe that people are the priority within reason (and I deal with crazy animal in the way situations all the time), but there are certain animals that deserve more respect than they get. For example, I have no problem wearing leather, and would have no problem with stylish ladies wearing furs from animals raised for that purpose, such as mink. However, hunting wild animals for furs is just wrong in a society where farm raised or even synthetic furs are available. I mean, killing a leopard or fox is so unnecessary. Anyway, I am sorry for the rant.

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    1. No one knew he was there. He is mostly nocturnal. Most people do not get too friendly with skunks if they encounter them in the evening because skunks can be so tame. Once they get acquainted with people, they sometimes want to live with them.

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  1. Reblogged this on Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss and commented:
    One of my online colleagues lives in California and I love reading his blogs, mainly about gardening as he is a horticulturalist. Today he wrote about his “adventure” with Pepe, the skunk. I live in Switzerland and we do not have skunks or coons, just cows and hedgehogs so I really found this very funny. Most of my colleagues here live in places with skunks, but my European friends do not. I have never smelt a skunk, but have heard that it can be quite powerful, so enjoy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. GADS! The smell is horrible! Even if it is not horrible, it is so nauseatingly strong! Well, if you like it, that is just swell. I will still be careful to not offend any of Pepe’s relatives.

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  2. We also have racoons which we have relocated using a similar homemade trap. We have never trapped a skunk “pew” and hope we never do.
    I would also like to repost to our garden club site if OK with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pepe is a problem in more urban areas — a friend trapped one and was planning to take it to a wilderness area the next day. Several neighbors complained to Animal Control, who informed him that trapping them is illegal, opened the trap and sent the animal over the fence whence it had come. Periodically, Pepe wanders by, waking everybody near his path!

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    1. I am more humane than most are with wildlife, so I feel better about trapping some of it myself than leaving it up to someone else (although trapping Pepe was not one of my projects).
      As an arborist, I have worked with extremely dangerous trees that could kill several people if they fell, that also were protected because of the wildlife that might have lived in them. That was ridiculous. There are times when wildlife is not the priority.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Skunks — when they grow up with people from babyhood — make good if rather smelly pets. But what a MESS they make of a garden. They completely eliminated one of our gardens. They dug it up and left a trench. Ate ALL the tubers and plants. ALL of them. I never bothered to put a garden there. It was too close to the woods.

    I only worry about raccoons because they are lethal to cats and small dogs. They are much stronger than our pets and they have very thick skins that the teeth of most small to medium-sized dogs can’t even touch AND they have long claws. Worse, they are extremely smart. People like to give them food because they are cute, but all that does is make them more eager to drop by for a visit whenever they get the munchies!

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    1. No; coons are not so welcome. I like to keep the skunks away too, just because I do not want to get too comfortable with domestic lifestyles. I am more diligent about coons though. I do not trust them.

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  5. Reblogged this on chester garden club and commented:
    The author of a blog post I follow lives in California and I enjoy reading his blogs, mainly about gardening, as he is a horticulturalist. Today he wrote about his “adventure” with Pepe, the skunk. Since we sometimes have unwanted encounters with both racoons and skunks and with his permission I have reposted.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh goodness! The skunks at my house kept their distance. When I canned applesauce, I sometimes left them the cores and peels. It was a good distance away. I spread the mess out a bit, just in case the coons wanted some too.

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    1. I talked nicely and tried to move slowly. Pepe was a really good sport, and did not seem the least bit bothered by the procedure until it was time for me to leave him there alone. I sort of suspect that he has returned home by now, but I hope he stayed and made a new home.

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      1. Actually, I get the impression that Pepe was rather young. Also, I think it is early for their kittens . . . or puppies . . . or whatever they are. Those arrive when the weather gets warmer. Then they will be seen all over town, waddling about in small herds of . . . kittens . . . or puppies . . . or whatever they are, following their mommy about.

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    1. Only a few people lived in the area, and none of them were aware that Pepe was there, so he was not a pet.. . . or at least he was not a pet that anyone was aware of. He might want to be a pet now. As far as I know, he has not been seen back where he was trapped. It is impossible to know for sure if he is only active at night.

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