Look closely. Surprised to see her in the light of day, but I think this skunk was trying to make her way home, much to the chagrin of our neighbor’s dog. I don’t know if this is my gardening friend from last summer, but if not, I would guess it is a family member. She (or he?) is following her own corridor–how important these small stands of trees and shrubs are for our animal neighbors. But as to where she was headed–strange–under a fence or under a deck? Right into our human neighbor’s yard.
There were also some strange tracks in the snow two days ago in our yard. Bigger than the usual squirrel tracks–now I think that maybe they were hers as well. Margy took this photo. I read that skunks are rather inactive in winter, though not true hibernators. But they begin to be more active, looking for a mate in spring.
Tracks by Margy Dowzer
I had a revelation! I have been thinking I was having a tug of war with a groundhog, because despite the fact that I had been using a very potent deterrent liquid, each morning I would discover this mess around my cherry tree beds. But no more plants were being eaten. So what to do? I did more research and discovered that the mess in my garden was likely not caused by a groundhog at all. Because the digger is nocturnal, and groundhogs are not.
Rather, it is likely a skunk (who is a nocturnal digger) is rooting in the mulch for the grubs of Japanese beetles. And then I realized that the rooting appeared about the same time as the Japanese beetles on the cherry tree leaves (which I have been picking off and dumping in soapy water). So I don’t really have a digger problem, I have a grub problem. In fact, the skunk is helping get rid of the Japanese beetles. But I’ve ordered some Milky Spore disease to inoculate the soil to create a more permanent and organic solution to the Japanese beetle problem and that will eventually deal with the digger problem.
I learn so much every week about gardening, usually through problems. But I haven’t seen the groundhog lately! (Knock on wood chips.) Thank you, skunk!