Suburban sprawl has increasingly pushed Mother Nature down. Now, in several parts of the country, she's pushing back.
Not all new residents of Torrance, Calif., are two-legged. Mephitis mephitis—the common striped skunk—has been causing problems for citizens and public works departments alike.
“We're constantly getting calls about skunks,” says Shayne Brinkerhoff, the city's animal control supervisor. The pungent pests crawl under houses, get smashed by cars, and infiltrate businesses.
Some animal control departments across the country loan out traps to capture the little stinkers, and hardware stores are doing brisk business on the devices, but there's just one problem.
“The way the community is growing, there's no place to relocate them that's not an urban area,” says Geoff Rhodes, general manager of Benson's Feed Store in Carson City, Nev.
Skunks aren't the only encroaching invaders. Raccoon, opossum, fox, and wolf sightings are also on the rise. In April, a wily coyote meandered into a Quizno's in the heart of Chicago's business district—the second coyote sighting in the city in less than a week. However, the varmint allegedly was removed before he could eat the sandwich he ordered (Turkey Ranch & Swiss).