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Raising a stink: Skunk population jumps in Illinois

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Updated: November 11, 2011 1:56PM

If your block smells stinkier than usual, it’s not alone.

More and more skunks have been roaming the Chicago area recently, experts say, and residents are taking notice. Local wildlife control operators have been busier than ever fielding phone calls and trapping the animals.

“I have never seen so many [skunks] in the neighborhood as right now,” said Lucy Spears, office manager of A-1 Pest Control, which covers the North Shore. “My gosh, a lot of cars are taking them out and they are just running rampant.”

ABC Humane Wildlife Control & Prevention, which serves the six-county region, has captured 687 skunks so far in 2011, up from 426 skunks at this point last year. The state’s skunk population in 2010 jumped 46 percent, and it has increased eight out of the last 10 years, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which monitors it through a road-kill index.

A skunk’s spray, which can shoot up to 10 feet, can temporarily impair vision.

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