10/17/2012 05:32 pm ET

Skunks In Chicago: Sightings Of Stinky Critters On The Rise, Population At All-Time High

As though we didn't already have enough to worry about due to the increasing reports of sightings of coyotes, cougars and even wolves (oh my!) in the Chicago area, a smelly pest has also been turning up more than usual as of late. (And we're pretty sure no one's mistakingly identifying the smell as anything else.)

According to CBS Chicago, the northern suburbs have been treated to a distinct odor in the air in recent months and many area outdoor pets have been getting skunked -- and with good reason.

The Chicago Tribune reported last week the Chicagoland's skunk population is at an all-time high, with the number of skunks handled by nuisance controller workers up to 9,510 from 6,741 the previous year. Updated numbers from this year will not be available until January.

A wildlife biologist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources previously noted that the area skunk population has been on the rise over the last decade due to their continued recovery from a rabies outbreak that struck in the early '80s.