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Image by Bryan Padron

Description: Commonly known for their black fur with a white stripe or stripes down their back and tail, skunks can also be brown, grey, cream-colored, and sometimes albino. From birth all skunks are striped, they may have one stripe across their back and tail, two thinner stripes that form a "V"across their back and tail, or white spots seen in spotted skunks. Adult skunks typically grow to about 22-37 inches and range between 8-15 pounds. Skunks have short and muscular legs. Their front legs have long claws for digging. Skunks have great senses of smell and hearing but they have poor eye sight which only allows them to see about 10 feet away. Skunks are known for their smell that they use as a defensive mechanism. They have two glands on each side of their anus which produces their offensive strong odor. The muscles next to the gland allows them to accurately spray up to about 10 feet. They are able to spray up to 6 times before needing about 10 days to replenish their spray. This spray can cause irritation and temporary blindness to their predator and can be smelled by a human from 3 miles away!

Habitat: Skunks are highly adaptable and can live in a wide variety of habitats in North and South America. They can live in rural areas like open fields, woods, or hillsides. They often dig dens with their strong front claws or use dens from other animals. Skunks can also be in the suburbs living under human structures like sheds, buildings, and decks. Skunks are typically nocturnal animals and do most of their activities at night. When skunks are not breeding they are solitary animals but may gather with others for warmth in the cold months. Skunks are not true hibernators but they can stay in dens for several weeks at a time when the weather gets cold. Skunks are omnivores eating foods that include small mammals, fruits, fish, grass, leaves, nuts, snakes, birds, grains, and insects.

Reproduction: Skunks start mating in February and mate through March. Females will mate with several different males during the four to five days they are in heat. Skunks have a gestational period of about two months and typically have their litters by May. Their litters can be anywhere from 2 to 10 and the kits are born blind with pink skin. Two weeks after birth they have fur and by the third week they have opened their eyes. When they are about 2 months old they can be seen hunting with their mother. The mother and kits will stay together until the next spring season when they are about one year old and old enough to go off on their own. The males play no part in raising the kits. 

Nuisance Concerns: Skunks are highly adaptable which means they can live in areas common to humans such as underneath sheds, decks, and houses. They can burrow and create holes damaging property to get to their den. They have large sharp front claws that allow them to dig but also damage parts of a home like screens and vents if they are at or below ground level. By tearing these with their front claws it leaves access open to other animals. Skunks also love backyard gardens, with plentiful access to foods they love they will not leave until your garden is completely destroyed. If you or your pet have ever been sprayed by a startled skunk before the scent does not come off easily. We can help eliminate the skunk and risk of being sprayed near your home. 

Dangers: Skunks have a relatively low risk of transmitting diseases. But it is still important to be cautious especially around a mother that is protecting her babies. Skunks can carry rabies, bacterial, and viral diseases that can be transmitted through a bite, scratch, feces, parasites, and contaminated food or drink. Rabies which is transmitted from a bite or scratch that breaks skin is most worrisome. They can also carry Leptospirosis which is transmitted through their feces and can cause respiratory problems as well as brain swelling and even death. Intestinal Roundworm can be transmitted by a contaminated skunk most often passed to pets as they come in contact with contaminated food or water. 

How Can We Help?: The best way to remove skunks is by trapping and removing them. Our certified and knowledgeable technicians will come and provide you with a thorough evaluation. Based on your specific situation our technicians will trap, capture, and remove the skunk or skunks. We can provide complete repairs on the destructed areas. Our technicians can install exclusion barriers to keep them from returning. There is no effective sprays, powders, or devices to repel skunks. Call us today and we can help take care of your skunk problem!


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