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Old 07-07-2009, 02:31 PM   #1
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Animal ID or prevention?


Some critter has taken to using my (open) front porch as its litter box. I'm looking for help identifying what it is and/or suggestions on how to keep it away. I tried spreading mothballs along the porch and that seemed to reduce its frequency but not eliminate it, plus we like to sit on the porch and the mothballs stunk pretty bad.

The critter leaves droppings just about every night. I've attached a photo that shows three separate ones, the top one broken up to reveal what it contained. Other skat has contained other insects and what appear to be little bits of nuts, though I'm not sure.

We have a lot of squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits around our house. I doubt that it's any of them because they seem to be diurnal and this critter leaves its droppings at night. We also have some skunks, raccoons, and possums in the area, and several domestic cats.

My biggest fear is that it's a rat. Never seen any in the neighborhood, nor any sign of them, but I'm not sure I would.

I have a couple different sizes of Hav-a-heart traps and I'd like to trap and relocate the animal. However I'm afraid it might be a skunk, and I don't know how I'd deal with a live skunk in a trap on my porch.

Thanks for any help you can provide.
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Animal ID or prevention?-skat1.jpg  

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Old 07-08-2009, 08:40 AM   #2
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Animal ID or prevention?


From the size and insect content, I'd say either skunk or possum. Try spraying one of the oil based cayenne pepper repellents around the area.

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Old 07-08-2009, 10:32 PM   #3
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Animal ID or prevention?


Can you put a portable security camera under there for a night or two? Hook it up to a tv in the house.

I got mine from www.x10.com. Maybe someone you know has one you can borrow.
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Old 07-08-2009, 10:56 PM   #4
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Animal ID or prevention?


Quote:
Originally Posted by BataviaJim View Post
I'm afraid it might be a skunk, and I don't know how I'd deal with a live skunk in a trap on my porch.
You can cover the trap with a heavy blanket/tarp, if they can't see what's going on and you're gentle they likely won't spray...
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:57 PM   #5
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Animal ID or prevention?


Quote:
You can cover the trap with a heavy blanket/tarp, if they can't see what's going on and you're gentle they likely won't spray...
Just don't have your cell phone on you as you approach the cage. There's almost a 100% chance someone will call when you're about 2 ft. from the skunk.

The phone will startle the skunk, causing it to spray.

Instead of saying "hello" into the phone, you'll be screaming.

The caller will hear you screaming and ...... LOL

Last edited by gma2rjc; 07-09-2009 at 10:05 AM.
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Old 07-09-2009, 09:14 AM   #6
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Animal ID or prevention?


I've always put hot pepper powder down to keep animals away
Worked wonders on the neighbors dog at the last house
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Old 07-10-2009, 01:31 PM   #7
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Animal ID or prevention?


Quote:
Originally Posted by gma2rjc
Can you put a portable security camera under there for a night or two? Hook it up to a tv in the house.
I don't know anyone who has a security camera, but maybe I could get a webcam and connect it to a laptop. There's a couple windows looking onto the porch so the laptop could be safely inside.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyboy
You can cover the trap with a heavy blanket/tarp, if they can't see what's going on and you're gentle they likely won't spray
That might work. The trap I have here is too small for a skunk (chipmunk size) but I can get the bigger one from my parents. Of course if it sprays when it realizes it's trapped, even though I wouldn't get hit it'll still stink up the porch for a while. I did a quick search and people on the Internet say that the smell lasts from a few weeks up to a few months. That would put quite a damper on our summer enjoyment of the porch...

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Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
I've always put hot pepper powder down to keep animals away. Worked wonders on the neighbors dog at the last house
Our porch is about 25ft long so it would take a lot of pepper to cover the whole area. The critter appears to walk along the whole thing, as we find poop all along it. (I mean that there's only one or two droppings per night, but they're left at various spots along the whole porch.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ratherbefishin
Try spraying one of the oil based cayenne pepper repellents around the area.
I'm looking for something like this now.
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Old 07-10-2009, 01:46 PM   #8
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Animal ID or prevention?


We also have an enclosed side porch, about 20' around the corner from the front porch. It's raised about 8" off the ground, and long ago I put a mesh fencing-like material around the bottom to keep leaves from blowing underneath. Today I noticed that the mesh was pushed in along most of one side. There's been something going under there, and it's bigger than a chipmunk or squirrel. I suspect that skunk(s) may have settled there. I tried looking but even with a flashlight it's too dark and has a lot of leaves. I couldn't see or hear anything but it would have had to move for me to spot it. So I may have an issue not only of keeping it off the front porch but also relocating it from the other porch.
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Old 07-10-2009, 09:18 PM   #9
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Animal ID or prevention?


Havahart Critter Ridder would probably be the easiest to find. Or you can do what I did a couple years ago. Mix about 8 oz of cayenne, 4 oz of garlic powder, a quart of canola oil and a quart of vinegar, emulsify it in a blender (yup, cayenne vinaigrette), and spray it under and all around the perimeter of the house with a hand pump garden sprayer. The racoons decided pretty quickly my crawl space wasn't such a good place to live after all.....

One other thing, do you leave a light on outside? If you do, it's attracting insects and the skunk keeps coming up on the porch because of the food source. You might want to think about using yellow bulbs if that's the case.
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Old 07-11-2009, 08:14 AM   #10
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Animal ID or prevention?


I was told and have found to be true, a skunk needs to lift its tail to be able to spray, use a smaller trap. And keep in mind, once you trap it, what are you going to do with it. In our area, commercial trappers have to dispose of the animal. Haven't seen it in print but you can't transport an animal to a new location if the animal is susceptible to rabies.
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Old 07-11-2009, 08:23 AM   #11
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Animal ID or prevention?


You might want to try and get one of those sensors that you hook the watter hose to that people use to prptect thier flowers from pets. You could place it next to the steps wherer the animal enters and probably after a few blasts of water it may avoit your home.
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:06 PM   #12
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Animal ID or prevention?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ratherbefishin' View Post
... Or you can do what I did a couple years ago. Mix about 8 oz of cayenne, 4 oz of garlic powder, a quart of canola oil and a quart of vinegar, emulsify it in a blender (yup, cayenne vinaigrette), and spray it under and all around the perimeter of the house with a hand pump garden sprayer. The racoons decided pretty quickly my crawl space wasn't such a good place to live after all

One other thing, do you leave a light on outside? If you do, it's attracting insects and the skunk keeps coming up on the porch because of the food source...
I found a commercial product but it costs $20 for a fairly small amount, so I'm going to try your recipe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushwacker
You might want to try and get one of those sensors that you hook the water hose to that people use to protect thier flowers from pets.
I've never heard of these things but it sounds like a good idea.

I tried spreading some flour around the area that it's using to access the porch, to see if I could get a good enough footprint to identify the tracks, but it was too muddled. There were definitely tracks but they weren't clear.

I have a motion sensor that you plug a light into. I tried that with a spotlight pointed at the end of the porch that I think the critter is coming from. It didn't work though -- this morning there was a turd right next to the light.

I'm thinking about plugging a leaf blower into the motion sensor. Maybe the noise and the air flow would scare it off. Of course that'll only work if I'm right about where it's entering the porch. Also I don't know if the sensor is rated to handle anything other than a lightbulb. I think I'll try it out tomorrow and if it seems okay then set it up for tomorrow night.
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Old 07-16-2009, 09:39 PM   #13
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Animal ID or prevention?


Would the sudden noise of the leaf blower make him spray?

I've heard that one reason for skunks coming into a yard is that they're digging for grubs under the surface of the soil.

Try spreading something like Grub-ex under there.

The only other thing I can think of would be to put a pan full of anti-freeze under the porch at night. Animals love the taste of it, but it kills them. If you have cats or dogs that wander through your yard at night though, you wouldn't want to do this.

Btw, I'm not positive, but you may be the first person who ever posted pictures of poop on the forum. LOL

Last edited by gma2rjc; 07-16-2009 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 07-17-2009, 12:24 PM   #14
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Animal ID or prevention?


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Would the sudden noise of the leaf blower make him spray?
Oops, I didn't think of that. A blast of wind and the noise from the leaf blower might be over the top. It would seem to be a fine line between something that would startle it enough to keep it away without causing a spray.

Quote:
The only other thing I can think of would be to put a pan full of anti-freeze under the porch at night. Animals love the taste of it, but it kills them. If you have cats or dogs that wander through your yard at night though, you wouldn't want to do this.
No unleashed dogs, but there are several neighborhood cats wandering around.

Quote:
Btw, I'm not positive, but you may be the first person who ever posted pictures of poop on the forum. LOL
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Old 11-02-2009, 07:17 PM   #15
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Animal ID or prevention?


Thanks for a good laugh. I laughed so hard over this scenario.
I'm talking about what gma2rjc posted. LMAO


Last edited by asassyvic; 11-02-2009 at 07:19 PM. Reason: add information
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