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Skunk Control and Removal

Skunks are mammals found throughout much of the USA, and are known for the strong, foul smelling liquid they secrete in order to ward off predators and threats: skunk odor removal. Skunks are nocturnal in nature and can be a big cause of concern. Apart from the foul smell they secrete, they have powerful claws and use them to dig deep burrows in the ground. Their burrowing not only damages the fields and vegetation but can also pose a threat to the structure of homes and buildings. They frequently choose to live under sheds, decks, porches, etc. and can cause odor problems there. They are also carriers of rabies – a disease that can result in full body paralysis and even death. They eat almost anything they can find and spread the waste from garbage bags all around your property. If you have a skunk problem, here are some helpful ways to get rid of skunks.  

Eliminating the Food Sources - Prevention is often the best tactic, and this is a good way to prevent them from using your property in the first place. Garbage Cans: Skunks tear apart the garbage bags and knock over garbage cans in order to get their hands on the garbage; or rather, their food. Replace the cans with those made of metal so that they cannot chew through it. It is important to make sure that the garbage cans have a tightly secured lid so that they cannot open them. Placing a heavy rock on top of the garbage can may not do the trick as skunks are strong and may be able to knock off of the can and still get to the trash inside. Eliminate Larvae: Skunks also like consuming beetle larvae and in order to search and hunt them they dig up the entire lawn. There are some pest hunters such as nematodes which can be positioned in the lawn in order to kill the larvae. Pet Food: Pet food left in bowls or containers out in the open are just asking to be eaten by skunks and other scavengers. If possible, keep the pet food indoors or at least in a secured area where skunks will not be able to reach. Nuts, Fruits and Berries: Every evening walk once in and around your garden and pick up fruits, nuts and berries from the ground. Skunks relish eating these and are easily accessible as well.

Repellents There are a few repellents that you can try to keep away the skunks. Bright Light and Water Sprayer: Since skunks are nocturnal in nature, they do not really like bright lights. Installing them in combination with motion sensors will produce light whenever there is any motion detected during the night. The bright light will be a deterrent to the skunks and they will likely avoid getting anywhere near the light. Same goes for motion sensor water sprayers - spray those skunks right back, and they'll be discouraged. Pepper Solutions: Pepper solution when sprayed in the garden on plants and trees can also act in keeping them away. However, you would need to use it after every few days in order for it to be effective. There are also a number of commercial repellents available in the market. There are automated sprinklers as well that sprays the repellent once any kind of motion is detected. However, studies reveal that repellents are not really effective in deterring them away. Also, the motion sensors, flood lights and automated sprinklers are quite expensive. The commercial repellents might also harm pets or children in the house.

Using Traps: Traps are probably the most useful method to take care of the skunks. You can trap them yourself but if is always better to call an expert if you do not want a taste of the bad pungent smell secreted by them.

Box Traps There are different types of traps that are specially meant to catch a skunk. One is the box trap which is big enough only to keep an adult skunk inside and does not allow it to raise their tail to spray you with their ‘perfume’. There are other box traps as well that are made up of plastic and do not allow the smell to leak out into the air. Releasing a skunk at a faraway place is always a good idea and ensures that it does not return. However, you must check out the local rules and regulations before trapping and releasing skunks (or any other kind of animal). If you are not sure if it is legal in your area it is better to call up an expert. There are also lethal methods of skunk control. Click here to read how to kill skunks.

Bait Bait can be anything that has a strong smell including tuna, canned cat food, giblets or sardines. Check the trap frequently as the bait might attract a stray cat or a raccoon as well. Also, at the time of releasing, skunks might be too scared to leave the box. It is better to leave it open for a few hours and come back later to collect the empty trap. Contracting a wild life expert would ensure that the animal is not harmed in any way and you have released it in accordance with the rules and regulations of the state.

Skunk Biology
Skunks, also known as polecats, are mammals which are widely known because of the foul smelling liquid they secrete in case a predator attacks them or for when they feel threatened. There are a total of 12 species of skunks which can be broadly classified into four categories – Mephitis, Spilogale, Mydaus and Conepatus. The Mephitis category has two species known as striped skunks and hooded skunks. The striped skunk has a black body with a couple of white stripes running along the length. The hooded skunk looks similar to a striped skunk but has a longer tail, softer fur and a ruff of fur around the neck area. They vary from 40 cm to 94 cm in length and weighs around 0.5 to eight kilograms. They consume both plants and animals as per the change in season and are also primary predators of honeybees.

Types of Skunks
The Spilogale skunks, also known as spotted skunks, have four species - Spilogale angustifrons, Spilogale gracilis, Spilogale putorius and Spilogale pygmaea. They are much smaller and faster than the striped skunks. They weigh one to three pounds, are black in color and have white spots on their heads and white interrupted stripes on the back.

The Mydaus skunks have two species – The Palawan Skunks and the Sundra Skunks. They are also known as stink badgers as the foul smelling liquid they secrete in self-defense from the anal glands is the most foul smelling of them all.

The Conepatus are also known as hog nosed skunks and have four different species – Conepatus Chinga, Conepatus Humboldtii, Conepatus Leuconoyus and Conepatus Semistriatus. They are largest in size as compared to all other species of skunks and have short hair and tails with a prolonged nose. They have strong claws and feet muscles which make them excellent diggers. They also have single white colored stripe on the back.

Skunk Habitat
The skunks usually reside near a flowing water body with plenty of vegetation around for them to feed upon, on rocky mountain slopes or in canyons. For their protection purpose, they dig deep burrows in the ground to make their homes. Many times they also use natural burrows or those dug by other animals to live in. They usually come out of the burrows during the night to look for food and sleep during the day time. This is the reason why they are not easily visible even if there is a huge population residing in a certain area.

Skunk Reproduction
Skunks are polygamous in nature. This means that a successful male mates with more than one female during early spring season. The female gives birth to four to seven young ones around the month of May. Before giving birth, she digs a burrow for the babies. The gestation period is around 66 days. Baby skunks are blind, deaf and are covered with a soft layer of fur at the time of their birth. They open their eyes in about three weeks and stay with their mother for about a year. Interestingly, males play no role in bringing up the babies and may kill then as well.

Skunk Diseases
The skunks are carriers of diseases like rabies, leptospirosis, canine distemper, listeriosis, canine hepatitis, tularemia, Q-fever and trypanosoma. In case of a bite, treatment is really important as skunks also carry rabies as well.

Skunk Nuisances
Skunks are a major cause of rabies infection to humans. The number of cases involving skunk bites is on the rise. Also, they have two glands on each side of the anus which can produce a mixture of chemicals including methyl and butyl thiols. This mixture is really foul smelling and keeps all the potential attackers including big bears away. They can also spray it with a great degree of accuracy for up to three feet. This can cause temporary blindness and irritation of skin as well. If sprayed on your clothes, you would have no other option but to throw them away as the smell is really difficult to remove. Prevention methods: how to keep skunks out of your yard.

Learn more about skunks:
What diseases do skunks carry?
What is a skunk’s natural diet, and how does it get its food?
Is a skunk that is active during the daytime rabid?
What kind of damage do skunks cause under a house?
Do skunks climb trees or fences?
Will the city or county animal services help me with a skunk issue?
Do skunks burrow underground?
Do baby or juvenile skunks spray?
Baby skunk removal
Should I feed a baby skunk I found?
How to keep skunks away from your property
Do skunks attack pets?
Do skunks attack chickens?
Do mothballs or ammonia help repel skunks?
Do all skunks have rabies?
About skunks
How to get skunks out of window well
What do wildlife rehabilitators do with skunks?
Why do skunks spray?
Where do skunks live?
How to get skunks out from under a shed or porch
What equipment is needed to trap a skunk?
How to identify skunk tracks
Do skunks swim?
Do skunks warn before spraying?
How to protect yourself from a spraying skunk
What are some of the symptoms of a sick skunk?
How do you know if you have a skunk under your shed or porch?
Do skunks shed their fur?
Do skunks run out of spray?
Will a skunk under a shed or porch have a nest of babies?
Are skunks dangerous to cats, dogs, or other pets?
Will a pest control company remove a skunk?
Do skunks come out during the day?
What should I do if I find an orphaned baby skunk wandering about?
What is a skunk’s mating habits?
What if a skunk got inside my house?
Should I hire a pro, or remove skunks myself?
Will a high pitch sound deterrent machine work against skunks?
Do skunks make good pets?
How to keep skunks out of my garden
How to keep skunks out of my garbage cans
How to find and remove a dead skunk
Do skunks fight each other?
How to use one-way exclusion funnels to remove skunks

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