Eww… Just, Eww.

June 22nd, 2007 by Potato

So just before leaving for Japan, we noticed a vague burning plastic smell in the house when the A/C was on. Not finding any actual fire, we ignored it and got into the business of winning 3rd place poster. Upon returning, I noticed that the house smelled pretty foul, kind of like skunk. Of course, the skunks were working their way through the neighbourhood gardens, so I could really only hope that it would go away as the skunks moved on. Wayfare investigated a bit further, and found a dead skunk in the garden.


Not a huge deal, I used to have to deal with that sort of thing for a living. We made plans to bag it and dispose of it in the morning (it being close to night when Wayfare found it), and thoroughly searched the internet for any sign of a city department that would handle it for us.

It being morning now, I went out to see the skunk with my own eyes, and well, eww. It looks like it’s been dead since before I left for Japan (which might just explain the earlier burning plastic smell), and I seriously fear for the structural integrity if I try to move it for disposal. So now we’re discussing our in situ containment options. I have considered a concrete sarcophagus, but wonder if that might draw too much attention to the situation. Since we don’t really want to disturb it to bury it deeper (if we thought we could move it without unleashing hell, we would go back to the garbage bag idea), that leaves us pretty much with the option of covering it with topsoil. The main complication here is that the damned thing decided to die right outside one of the air intakes for the basement — air that then goes into the A/C and thence into my personal space. So if we’re going to let it rot in peace, we’ve got to be damned sure that the smell stays down through these hot summer months. Currently, my plan is to cover it with drano, then bury it with a nice big bag of potting soil. Wayfare, however, thinks that plan is a little too crazy, partly because it would lead to a dead spot in the garden, and partly because I got the idea from reading about covering plague bodies with lye. I’m cool with a little herbicide, but I am concerned about the effectiveness of this plan. Particularly with regards to the ability of the sodium hydroxide to neutralize the specific skunk stink (it may work for other animals, but skunks have their own particular problems). Some hydrogen peroxide may be needed as well (as that forms the bathing solution to remove the smell from skin/fur).

Anyone with any knowledge or experience of this sort of thing care to chime in?

Also joining our garden woes is that whatever moved in under the front porch has been pooping right outside its entrance hole. I thought animals would be smarter than that… though perhaps its our dead skunk and we won’t have that issue anymore.

5 Responses to “Eww… Just, Eww.”

  1. Potato Says:

    Well, we ended up bagging the critter. The fear was that any attempt to liquefy or otherwise neutralize the smell could lead to the runoff entering the leaky foundation, where the previous craptacular patch job by our landlord would have it rot between the bricks and the expanding foam, where we could never get it out. After bagging it, we found out that the bottom half was completely skeletal already…

    Of course, this leads to the almost equally undesirable situation of having to store said bagged critter until garbage day on Tuesday…

  2. Ben Says:

    I was going to say, I think your best option is to just bite the bullet and shovel it into a bag. I had to do that once with a rat that had died under the tree in my backyard sometime while we were at the cottage a few summers ago. It reeked and on top of it, the thing was the size of a squirrel and was entirely covered in writhing maggots. My trick is to take one of those cheap dust masks, grab a handful of fresh mint or lemon balm or some other very aromatic herb, crunch it all up, put it in the mask, put the mask on and then perform whatever super smelly thing it is I have to do. Trying not to think about the smell helps too…

  3. Rez Says:

    Did you take pictures? I would have taken pictures. I hope you took pictures. Tell me you took pictures. For the love of the gods, man! Pictures!

  4. Wayfare Says:

    Ben: Now imagine if that reeking thing was the size of a *large cat* and covered in writhing maggots, *and* on top of it all, it smelled like skunk too. ugh.

    Rez: I took many pictures – they have captions like “Potato suiting up for disposal”, and “holy crap it barely fits in the bag!”, and “A triumphant Potato: mission accomplished!” Thankfully, no “Potato vomiting into the bushes when plan goes horribly awry”. I’m honestly surprised he hasn’t taken the camera away from me yet.

  5. Rez Says:

    I patiently await the aforementioned photos.