It’s not exactly Pepe’ Le Pew, but Mott has recently been occupied by the black and white-striped critter. And it’s getting to be a problem
In recent weeks, witness accounts have put skunk sitings in town during the day, which is highly unusual considering the fury creature is nocturnal.
By Cole Benz
“That was one of our concerns, seeing them in the morning or in the daytime, they can carry rabies,” said Hettinger County Sheriff Sarah Warner. “But usually their nocturnal animals so if you’re seeing them at night, we live in a small rural area…that’s their nature.”
Warner told The Herald that the department had been aware of the sitings, but a Facebook post that gave a time and location of a skunk presence kicked their efforts into high gear.
“We jumped on it immediately after seeing the post, and got things rolling to hopefully prevent [incidences],” she said.
Warner said that in talking with other departments, the cause for these occurrences could be due to the high temps and low precipitation numbers.
“Talking to game and fish, they said it’s not unlikely that these skunks are coming out because of the hot weather,” she said.
Because of the hot and dry weather, the animals have come out to find food, and water.
The authorities set out to discover the problem and hopefully find a solution. And what they found out was that it was a mother skunk and her littler of kits—baby skunks. So far, they have been able to trap the mother and five of her young, but more could be out there. Anymore sightings, if they are small skunks, are most likely more of the young animals looking for their mother.
It’s not uncommon to see wildlife around a small community. Especially Mott, given the town’s vicinity to the Cannon Ball River, where much of the wildlife makes their habitat or uses it as their source for water.
“Just being in a rural area, I mean these animals do move through the area,” Warner said.
Most common issues would be an attack or the odors that they can release form their anal scent gland in defense. But the more prominent problem to prevent is the spread of disease. Making sure nasty ailments don’t spread to stray or domesticated animals is first and foremost the reason why authorities have been so diligent about keeping tabs on the black and white creatures.
“If a skunk should be rabid, and bite either a domesticated animal or a stray animal, that can obviously be spread around,” Warner said.
So how can the community help?
Warner said that food should not be left outside. And if you need to feed an animal outside, bring the dish or left over food inside once the animal is done feeding.
“Once [the animal is] coming back in, grab [the dish] and take it back in with them,” she said.
The sheriff is also warning citizens not to approach a skunk if you see one near you to prevent getting sprayed or injured. Those who witness accounts of the animal should call the authorities and inform them of the location of the sighting.
Warner also wanted the public to know that this ongoing problem is being closely monitored and worked on by multiple agencies, including the sheriff’s department and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.