A skunk with its head stuck in a trap. Photo submitted by Angi Norcross

Stuck skunk a stinky situation

Area resident concerned over use of mouse traps that may trap other animals instead

The situation stunk, but it could have been far worse.

Angi Norcross lives on an acreage outside of Invermere down Westside Road. She was at home when she heard a banging outside her door. She opened it to a surprising scene: a skunk was standing on her porch with its head stuck in a box. The box was a commercial-grade mousetrap with poisoned pellets inside to attract rodents. In this case, it attracted the skunk, whose head was big enough to fit in the hole, but not get out again. The skunk somehow managed to make it to the Norcross property and up to their door.

“My husband and I go outside, and here’s this poor skunk thrashing around with this big box on its head,” Ms. Norcross described.

The stuck skunk was one of a pair that, as far as Ms. Norcross can tell, have made their home around the property’s woodpile. While the Norcrosses have two dogs, and many wild animals that roam around the rural home, Ms. Norcross said they have never had a conflict with the skunks and, in fact, are quite happy to have the pair around.

“First we only had one (skunk) on the property. This second one showed up last year,” she said. “They’re quite comfy here.”

She believes the skunk knew where it could go to get help and made its way intentionally to her door. Ms. Norcross and her husband worked to pry the lid off the box.

“We had a tug-of-war for about 20 minutes,” she said. Her husband was fearful the skunk would spray, but Ms. Norcross said she did not care, her only concern was the safety of the skunk.

After the couple got the lid off the box and realized they would not be able to get the skunk unstuck, they brought the skunk to local veterinarian Dr. Mark Zhender. Dr. Zhender was able to sedate the skunk and remove it from the box. Dr. Zhender said this is the first time he has had to free an animal from this type of a trap, though he has had other wildlife get caught in various pieces of plastic; one time there was a deer whose antlers got tangled in a clothesline and required sedation to get untangled.

Dr. Zhender recommends if a resident encounters a scenario like this, to call the RAPP line to alert Conservation Officers (1-877-952-7577).

After the skunk returned home in the Norcross’s vehicle, it wandered away, seemingly unharmed by the incident, Ms. Norcross said, and all involved walked away spray-free. What could have been a terrible incident ended on a happy note thanks to the skunks’ fortuitous trip to their door.

“That poor skunk would’ve been bashing around until it starved to death,” she said. “That guy would’ve died, and he’s my skunk.”

Ms. Norcross said she wanted to share this story to encourage people to consider using other methods when dealing with unwanted rodents, or only use the traps like these in contained spaces where larger animals cannot access.

“I’m an animal advocate, and I don’t want to see anything like this happen again,” Ms. Norcross said.

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