Wednesday, March 28, 2012

our disposable trash and the wildlife that gets caught

Last month Furbearer Defenders wrote a post about the issue of skunks getting their head caught in the drainage holes of dumpsters. This week I also found some links to skunks who had gotten their head trapped in various jars and cups.

"It's not unusual for skunks to get their heads stuck in random objects — they are easily attracted to food smells and because their heads are triangular in shape, it is easy for them to push through narrow openings." (CBC Skunk Story)

"Skunks won’t spray you if they can’t see you, so it’s not a risk to grab the cup and pull it off. Skunks are nearsighted. They see the world in slow-moving blobs. Simon said the trick is to move slowly and speak in soft, soothing tones to the skunk - they stomp their feet before they spray.

The best way consumers can prevent a similar skunk emergency is to thoroughly rinse and cut up containers before discarding/disposal: Raccoons get their heads stuck in peanut butter jars, birds get caught in 6-pack can holders and trash poses other risks for wildlife, said Simon. (New Haven Register Skunk Story)

What a good reminder of how we can help wildlife:
- wash and clean all recyclables well before they are put out in recycling bin
- cut and/or crush all plastic so that it can't get trapped around an animal
- keep all garbage will secured and in a pail with lid
- put out garbage/recyclables the day of collection so that nocturnal animals can't get at your containers
- if you see garbage on the street, in ditches or parks pick it up and dispose of it safely
- if possible don't use disposable cups at all (especially ones with rounded lid & large hole on top!)
- the upside down Yoplait yogurt containers (in the U.S.) are especially dangerous for skunks.

The wildlife will thank you!


*All skunks pictured in this post were rescued and jars, cups removed.

News Reports:

- Animal Rescue - Brewster Police

- Stuck Skunk - KTLA

- Birdwatchers Save a Life

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