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Don Lewis, Massachusetts Audubon Society,
Fox Island Wildlife Management Area

The Good, the Bad, and the . . . Phew! 20 March 2002

Patrolling the South Wellfleet marsh this morning, Rags and I ran across an unusual sight: a silvery object at the bottom of a creek channel.  On closer investigation, we discovered a trapped skunk, which had obviously been placed in the creek bed to drown.

The footprint of the trapper remained etched in the bank.  The cage bottom was filled with mud, as though its weight had begun to sink into the ooze or perhaps a few tides had partially filled the trap.  We are at quarter phase now; so, tides are mild and don't flood the entire marsh.

The Animal Rescue League asked that we release the animal.  With a long clam rake we gently maneuvered the trap into the wrack and placed an old rag over the rear of the cage.  Despite our soothing words and slow motion tactics, the skunk still panicked and liberally sprayed the surrounding marsh.  Neither of us took a direct hit, but the fine perfume spray left a perfectly pleasing aftereffect NOT!  No problem: one of us was heading to a fundraiser and the other was en route to his annual physical, each with his own story to tell.

Using the rake head we opened the trap door and stood back.  Cautiously the skunk edged its way to freedom.

Once completely outside the trap, it turned aggressively in our direction to thank us in that special way that only a skunk can manage.