Dear JOAN: I'm having a serious war with a neighborhood skunk.
In the past I would leave a little bit of dry food out for my feral cat. Then I noticed that it had become a feeding place for this skunk.
Apparently bright lights don't deter the skunk as he was basking beneath mine.
I figured it wasn't a good idea to encourage a skunk onto my property so I have been removing the food bowl at night. I still want to make sure my feral cat is being fed so he is learning to eat earlier.
About a week ago I noticed these large areas in my lawn that looked as if someone was practicing golf and leaving a bunch of divots. Then coming home one night I saw it -- a skunk was
I believe that I have a skunk with an attitude and really need to know what I can do to make it stop.
Dear Linda: Like a bad house guest, once a skunk senses the welcome mat is out, he moves right in. You already took away the cat food, but apparently you've got some tasty grubs in your lawn.
The trick is to make your yard as unappealing to them as possible, forcing them to go elsewhere and become someone else's problem.
The first step is to take a good look at your property. Is there a chance this skunk is living under a deck, in a wood pile or in the crawl
Skunks aren't good at climbing or jumping so patch up and block openings, and put up barricades to force them out of their dens. Do this in the evening, after you are sure they've gone out.
The next step is to remove the food. The kibble is easy; the grubs, not so much. Although I don't often recommend sloshing a lot of chemicals around, if you can spray your lawn to get rid of the grubs, the skunk will figure that his food source had died out and he should move on.
I also knew a woman who took hundreds of plastic forks and stuck them, handle end down, throughout her lawn so that skunks, cats and raccoons would have to step over and around the sharp tines. They don't like prickly things. That did the trick for her.
Dear Joan: My backyard lawn is being ravaged by a mole or moles.
Clumps of soil on top of underground tunnels are rampant. I have tried many, many things -- a sound device that is inserted in the lawn; pellets and other wormlike bait; spray on the lawn to eliminate insects and bugs that are the supposed food for moles; fish emulsion poured into the tunnels; cartridges; and other over-the-counter products, all to no avail. Any suggestions?
Dear Tom: I'm thinking you may be after the wrong critter. Take a look at those mounds. Are they nice and round, or are they kind of horseshoe-shaped?
Round mounds are moles. They burrow straight up. The misshapen ones are gophers. They come up at an angle, thus push more dirt to one side of the hole than the other.
Moles are harmless as they mostly eat insects, but the tunnels can make your lawn unattractive. Gophers eat plants and are far more destructive.
Trapping is the surest way to get rid of both moles and gophers as other methods just don't work well.
Please don't use poisons -- you can end up killing raptors or other creatures that might dine on the dead animals. Besides, moles usually won't eat the bait.
Contact Joan Morris at email@example.com; or P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596.