The skunk population in Manhattan has gone “from zero to many,” acc0rding to Mike Feller, the chief naturalist of the city Department of Parks and Recreation.
Our little stripey friends are believed to be coming across from the mainland on Amtrak’s Spuyten Duyvil swing bridge, which stretches from the southern end of the Bronx to northern Manhattan. Skunk sightings are being reported in Inwood and Fort Tryon parks and the surrounding neighborhoods.
Leaving aside the obvious downside of confronting a skunk, they’re a known vector for rabies. A good rule of thumb is that if a skunk (or possum, or raccoon) doesn’t seem to be afraid of you, you should probably be afraid of it.
Feller believes that the skunks are spreading because there are no large predators in Manhattan, which suggests that they haven’t gotten far enough downtown yet.