The Brady Police Department has been experiencing an increasing number of calls from local residents requesting assistance with unwanted skunks. Skunks can be carriers of rabies, and any contact should be avoided. They can spray accurately for a distance of up to 15 feet and cause irritating odors to people and pets. The use of traps to remove skunks is not generally recommended by wildlife experts; however, it is recommended that prevention of skunk visits is a more effective solution. Skunks are normally nocturnal and are attracted to residential areas by the availability of food, water and shelter. They can be encouraged to leave by reducing or eliminating these attractants. The following are tips to help prevent unwanted skunk visits: ‘ Remove unused pet food and water bowls at night, and keep tight fitting lids on garbage cans. ‘ Store pet food in animal proof containers. ‘ Gardens should be harvested frequently and fruit picked up. ‘ Food should never be intentionally left out for wild animals. The police department further warns local residents to seal up entry holes in and under buildings and decks. If this is not practical, skunks can be discouraged by the use of 20 to 30 moth balls placed in a sock, a cloth soaked in household ammonia or a repellant made from one small bottle of hot pepper sauce or a container of cayenne pepper mixed with one teaspoon of mild liquid dishwashing detergent and one gallon of water. The recipe can be sprayed on areas being used by skunks or other mammals to discourage them from returning.