STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – A Colorado family has been living a nightmare after a colony of skunks infiltrated their home.
After five months trying to get rid of the animals, and more importantly the smell, there’s still a long way to go for the Greene family of Steamboat Springs.
Mae Greene says she’ll never forget Nov 29 at 4 a.m.
“We were sleeping and we woke up coughing and thinking it was a gas leak. It was awful,” Mae said.
A colony of skunks had found their way underneath the 100-year-old house’s flooring. Since it’s so old, the house has no foundation and was a perfect safe harbor for a labyrinth of tunnels.
The Greenes and their two children moved out while trappers came in. For weeks they caught a skunk daily — a total of 13.
“We kept hoping we’d be home for Christmas,” Mae said. “The smell would just not go away. Everyone kept saying, ‘Oh, it will go away, it will dissipate.’ And some days you’d come in and it was even stronger.”
A highly-trained exterminator from Denver came in early this year and decided they needed to rip up the floors to find out where the smell was still coming from.
“They just cut it and ripped it all out,” Harris Greene said.
“We would have never known how extensive the tunneling was,” Mae said. “Once we pulled them up to see that tunnel system and to see the poo everywhere, and the smell, and your eyes were watering.”
When the floors came up, two more dead skunks were found under the house.
“No one has ever heard of anything like this, and so it’s just been challenging for that reason,” Mae said.
The Greenes say their insurance company has waffled on helping them pay for an infestation that could cost up to six figures.
Neighbors say they got concerned when so many skunks were trapped in the early winter, but no one else has had a similar issue.
“It was really hard to believe, especially when they had to move out. We thought it would be a few weeks, but now it’s been a whole winter,” neighbor Devon Dalzell said.
“This happened in November. We’re close to April now and we’re still not sure when we are going to be able to come home,” Mae said.
The Greenes’ exterminator says the warm weather is to blame for bringing skunks out early this year along the Front Range.