Skunks surge in Joliet

August 19, 2011

The Associated Press

(Flickr/Brian-Shea)

Residents and town officials of Joliet expressed concern this week over the increase in skunk appearances. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources said the state's skunk population has doubled over the past few years.

Resident Doreen Swanson told the City Council she considers the number of skunks to be at "epidemic proportions." Council members agreed with her, and shared their own skunk tales.

Mayor Thomas Giarrante said one of his neighbors "saw an adult skunk and seven young ones walk right across their patio." Another councilman said his dog was sprayed.

Sarah Gimbel, who works at Joliet Township Animal Control Center, told the Chicago Tribune's Joliet edition that skunk sightings may be the result of increased migration, rather than increased population. Gimbel also suggested that skunks may be targeting areas that they haven't covered before. The center provides trap rentals at $50 for five days and will pick up any animals that are caught.

Licensed skunk trapper Leon Bilbrew of Joliet said this has been his busiest year in eight years. He said he expects his trappings to double to 120 this year.