MSU’s skunks leave a lasting impression on campus

Despite Mississippi State University’s commitment to hospitality, the campus' newest residents are not welcome. Stories of skunk spottings and smellings have been circulating for weeks.

Two weeks ago, MSU senior Elise Moore and her fellow classmates had an unfortunate encounter with a family of MSU’s skunks. Unbeknownst to the students and faculty, skunks had sprayed the walkway between classrooms at Ballew Hall, leaving residual skunk spray behind.

Moore noticed something smelled very off, both during and after class, but decided to continue with her plans and go to the gym, leaving her previous outfit and backpack in her room.

Upon returning to her room at the Chi Omega house, Moore’s entire room was filled with the smell of skunk spray, and the clothes and backpack she wore to class reeked of the smell. Moore had to intensively clean all of her belongings and air out her room over night. 

"I have never experienced anything like this. It is something you hear about, but you never actually know someone who has had it happen," Moore said. "Thankfully, it could have been a lot worse."

Afterward, Moore’s professor emailed students about the family of skunks that had sprayed and said they would be working on resolving the issue.

Kaleigh Williamson, a freshman from Hattiesburg, spotted a little black and white striped creature scurrying across the road near Old Main one night a little over a week ago.

"I just saw this creature run across the road and I was like, 'What is that?' So I pulled out my phone and videoed it," Williamson said.

Williamson said she had heard reports of the skunks and even saw a few videos, but never expected to see one herself. 

"I had seen multiple videos last week of these weird looking skunks, and I never thought that I would see one but I did," Williamson said.

Several students reported a distinct skunk smell outside Moseley Hall which has been present since September and continues to persist.

"I haven’t seen any skunks on campus, but I have smelled their sprays outside of Moseley in particular," said freshman Eli Denson, a resident of Moseley Hall. "It smelled like a skunk had sprayed right by the door and the odor has been there since about September."

Campus police said although they had not received any official complaints about the malodorous creatures, one of their canines, Miguel, had been recently sprayed. Unfortunately for the poor dog, he was discovered to be allergic to skunk spray and had to be shaved and treated with cortisone, reported Chief Rice of the MSU police department.

"Canine Miguel got sprayed a little over a week ago, and we found out he’s actually allergic to skunk spray and he’s now having to be treated with cortisone," Rice said. "He looks terrible because we had to shave him in those areas."

Rice also said the skunk problem around campus is unfortunately not new, and resurfaces every five years or so.

"MSU seems to have this problem every few years, it gets worse and better and worse and better," Rice said.

The skunk issue is not one easily solved.

"It’s not socially acceptable to terminate the skunks, and it gets very expensive to trap and relocate the skunks, so it’s not something you can just continually do all the time," Rice said.

Additionally, when the police start attempting to eradicate the skunk problem, they have to address the feral cat problem as well, Rice pointed out.

Rice added how many of his officers say the current skunk problem is nowhere near as bad as it was five or six years ago.

Skunk spottings or smellings have been reported all over campus, including by the Sanderson, McCool and Critz Hall.

Hopefully, the unwelcome critters will soon recede to wherever they came from and not bother MSU for another five years or so, until it is time for them to mark their territory with a whole fresh batch of unsuspecting students.

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