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Granite Bay Neighborhood Overrun With Skunks, Drought Partially To Blame

By Denise Wong

GRANITE BAY (CBS13) – A stinky problem has homeowners in one Granite Bay community on high alert. They say their neighborhood has become overrun with skunks – thanks to the drought.

Vince Matranga knows skunks love peanut butter. He's learned more about them in the past year than he's ever wanted to now that he's captured 18 of them at his Granite Bay home.

"If I don't catch one tonight I'll be shocked," Matranga said.

Number 17 and 18 just last night.

"One in the front yard one in the backyard," Matranga said.

Matranga says this foul invasion started 12 months ago when skunks started digging up his lawn, looking for grubs and insects. It's caused hundreds of dollars' worth of damage to his landscape.

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"Very frustrated. You think you catch all the skunks and then another wave of skunks come in," Matranga said.

The problem has gotten a lot worse since the weather has gotten warmer, Matranga says. He says Placer County animal control tells him to expect it to continue into the summer as temperatures stay warm and water stays scarce.

Wildlife experts confirm Matranga and animal control's suspicions.

"The lack of water brings them down into suburban areas looking for water and food," says Aaron Bendavid, a wildlife biologist who retired from Gold Country Wildlife Refuge.

He explains this move carries risks.

"They can be dangerous.  They can carry rabies," Bendavid said.

Others in the neighborhood are well aware of the problem.

"The last couple years is probably the worst I've seen and heard about it," said Michael Drake, Matranga's neighbor.

Neighbors say they feel trapped.

"I get a little fearful coming outside my house, going to the car late at night, seeing if it's locked because I smell it and I wonder if it's around," Drake said.

The only thing they can hope for now is a wet winter.

"And hopefully the skunk issue and wildlife issue will go away," Matranga said.

A spokesperson for Sacramento Animal Control says homeowners can actually contribute to the problem by keeping bowls of water and food for pets outside that will attract wildlife like skunks.

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