A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

March 11, 2008

When You Stick Your Nose On A Skunk You Don’t Come Up Smelling Like Roses!

Filed under: alpaca, Alpaca Care, Alpacas, camelids, General — Tags: , , , , , — alpacalady @ 7:28 am

Rascal Who Now Smells Like A Skunk

 March is the month when skunks start to make more of an appearance in our area.  They are active and looking for a mate to create more skunks with.  An article about skunks in our local paper on Sunday mentioned how skunk litters can number anywhere from four to seventeen in size.  Seventeen baby skunks – what a thought!  Having said that baby skunks are undeniably cute and those who know me well know that should I find such a collection of baby skunks on the property I would be outside watching them at every opportunity.

So with skunks starting to wander around more we have already had our first skunk/alpaca encounter for the year.  As skunks are mainly nocturnal we didn’t witness the event, but we certainly knew it had happened the next morning.   As the junior males greeted us at morning feeding there was a distinct aroma in the air!  It took a little while to figure out who had been “skunked”  – it was Rascal.

All alpacas are curious but Rascal is particularly bold in his curiosity (hence the name Rascal as his curiosity gets him into all sorts of predicaments).  I am sure when the skunk ambled across the pasture or by the fence line Rascal was the first to make his way over to check it out.  The skunk no doubt chattered and waved it’s tail in warning, but Rascal would have just been more encouraged to check it out with that behavior.  I can just see poor Rascal as he lowered his nose to take a sniff at the skunk only to be met with a stream of skunk spray!

While skunks have a certain charm about them (if you forget about their ability to spray that is) they do also have a downside.  Unfortunately they will kill our barn kittens if they find them, and they will also steal eggs and small chicks at times, and then there is the link between skunks and rabies.  Skunks are known carriers of rabies and so their presence is a threat to our livestock and our pets.   The more skunks we see in March the higher the possibility of rabies, which is of course something we do not want to encounter.  Fingers crossed the skunks that make their way to our property will be rabies free.

It cannot be pleasant for poor Rascal to have “eau de skunk” on his nose; it is certainly not pleasant for us.  There really is not much we can do about Rascal’s new odor.  We could try and neutralize it by washing Rascal’s nose in one of the concoctions recommended for removing skunk smell, but alpacas are not too keen about having their noses scrubbed and within a couple of days the smell will have subsided.   In the meantime we will just have to put up with one smelly alpaca and I am betting that if that smelly alpaca (aka Rascal) should see another skunk he will try and sniff it again!   

 Rosemary

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