What Do Skunks Look Like?
Skunks are large rodents, most closely related to badgers. As adults, they usually grow to be about the same size as the average house cat but can be differentiated by their distinctive color patterns. Skunks are usually covered in black fur, with two white stripes leading from the top of their heads to the end of their long, bushy tails. Their fur is usually shorter along the body and grows longer as it reaches their tail.
Are Skunks Dangerous?
Bites from skunks are relatively uncommon, as their first line of defense is to spray. Being sprayed by a skunk can be intensely irritating, as the stench is strong and difficult to remove. Their spray contains sulfur compounds, that if inhaled or comes in contact with the eye, can cause discomfort. Skunks are known to exhibit aggressive defensive behavior as a last resort when grabbed. It is not advised to try and move live skunks on your own. It is best to contact a wildlife professional for the job.
Skunks can carry the rabies virus, making them a serious health concern. Rabies is only transmitted through saliva or bite wounds. You can tell if skunks are rabid by their behavior, which will be erratic. Skunks are usually night scavengers, but if you see them during the day wandering or stumbling in plain sight, precautions should be taken to avoid the animals. They are commonly more aggressive and vocal when they are infected with the rabies virus. This is a situation that needs to be reported and dealt with by professionals. Do not attempt to intercept or trap animals that you suspect may have rabies. Keep all pets such as cats and dogs contained away from the suspected pests until professional help arrives.
How Do I Tell If Skunks Are the Problem?
There are a few different ways you can tell if skunks have recently visited your property:
- Smell. Skunks have a distinct and potent odor that is sprayed as defensive measure against predators, and to mark territory. It is commonly referred to as a rotten-egg-like smell that can linger for days.
- Recently dug-up dirt piles. Favorite food items for skunks are grubs and beetles. Skunks find them by digging into the ground. They are also known to dig up and eat small plants and to chew leaves, as well as raid berry bushes. If you begin to see a small grouping of three to four-inch holes appearing across your lawn, you may suspect that you have skunks visiting your property at night.
- Burrows. Look for burrows dug near food sources or under foundations of buildings.
How Do I Get Rid of My Skunk Problem?
As skunks are large rodents, capable of defensive behavior such as spraying, it is recommended that homeowners do not attempt to remove these animals on their own. Our licensed professionals are available for emergency calls for this purpose. At Family, we practice eco-friendly and humane methods of wildlife control and removal.
Family Pest’s Skunk Prevention Tips
Here are some tips for preventing skunks on your property:
- Make sure that all garbage is securely locked inside a bin. Skunks are scavengers that relish finding easy food sources. For this reason, pet food should be brought inside at night in order to not attract skunks and other foraging pests to your home.
- The use of a motion sensor light may help deter these creatures, as they prefer to forage unseen in the low light of the night.
For more prevention tips, please reach out to us at Family for a personalized consultation to discuss the best measures that can be taken to protect your property.