Hi my name is Brendan Mangnitz, I have been in the Nuisance Wildlife Removal industry now for nearly 6 years since I graduated from College at UF with a background in Entomology and Wildlife Biology. I have seen and controlled just about any wildlife issue you may think of. I have dealt with skunks in apartments complex, skunk removal from your everyday house hold, skunks in the Attic, skunks digging up yards, skunks in Pools, skunks stuck in Chimney’s, and the list goes on and on. I have used several different control and removal methods for skunks and that’s what I want to share with you guys on our website here at Animal-Pros.com.
Skunks are commonly found through all parts of North America, and are most widely known for their terrible odor that they emit as their first line of defense. While skunks are not commonly aggressive by nature, most don’t want them around for fear that they or their belongings could get hit by the spray of the skunk. Most skunks seek out insects to munch on, however they are opportunistic creatures and will eat small animals and vegetables if they can manage to get their paws on it. They will often dig through the dirt to create burrows and to find food sources, they will also use these burrows during the winter months to huddle together and stay warm.
You can often tell if you are having skunk problems by looking for tracks that they leave, you can identify 5 toes and claws on both the front and back paws. They will also knock over trash cans and raid gardens and chicken coops, however these can also be signs of other wildlife as well. You can also identify skunk activity by the odor that they leave behind, if they are frightened and spray near your home, you may be able to detect the smell.
If you have an unwanted skunk in the area, the best option to get rid of him is to attempt to trap him using a live trap. This is the most humane way to remove a skunk, as it keeps the skunk alive and give you the ability to relocate it to a more appropriate location where it can thrive. One of the reasons people are hesitant to go forward with this method of removal is the possibility of frightening the skunk and getting sprayed. There are ways to prevent this, such as making sure you’re completely covered and protected from the spray. You should also approach the trap slowly and calmly, this will keep the skunk from panicking too much and greatly reduce the likelihood of it spraying you. Use a blanket to cover the trap, skunks typically won’t spray if they cannot see what they are targeting.
To reduce the chances of skunks even coming onto your property, you can install wildlife lights, which will turn on when a skunk comes close to the house; these bright lights will often deter skunks and other nocturnal animals from sniffing around your home. You can also install fencing around the yard, skunks are not known for being able to climb very well, however they can dig so you want to make sure that your fence goes under ground at least a couple of inches. There are several skunk repellents on the market, however, they are not proven to prevent skunks on their own, you may want to use them with other methods of deterrent.
While not the most pleasant, you can also attempt to identify skunk activity by locating their feces. This may be difficult, mostly because you don’t want to get close to any kind of poop, but also because it can appear very similar to raccoon feces. The feces from a skunk will more than likely resemble that of a cats droppings, except you hopefully won’t be finding them inside your litterbox. If you are finding droppings in your lawn, or near your garden, this could be a sign of wildlife activity, so the next step would be identifying what kind of animal you’re dealing with. Skunk feces is going to look like a small tube with blunt ends on both sides, much like a raccoon’s. However, racoon feces is most often longer and wider than that of a skunk. Skunk droppings are about 2 inches in length and a half of an inch around. Raccoon feces is typically about an inch longer and a bit thicker, it is also commonly darker than skunk feces.
Often, if you look close enough (yuck) you will be able to see berries or occasionally the exoskeletons of the insects that they eat. The feces itself may be slightly scattered, or mushy, in appearance. Unlike raccoons, who use a latrine system and typically keep their feces in the same general location, skunks will leave their droppings wherever they like. However, you can have the most luck finding dropping near their burrows. Aside from their feces, you can also come across their urine tracks. Skunk urine has a foul smell to it, and can leave stains should it come in contact with anything.
As with any wild animal, skunks are susceptible to be carriers of many different diseases. This is why it is always important to use caution when dealing with skunks. Skunks are common carriers of roundworm, which can be found in their feces. While most adults know better than to touch feces, this issue can be serious for people with young children and pets who can contract the worm easily. Skunk feces is also host to many other bacteria that can cause dangerous diseases in both humans and pets, which is why you should always use protection when dealing with feces. Leptospirosis and Tularemia are both diseases commonly found in skunk feces that can be transmitted to humans, and can have severe health risks.
Another disease that skunks are common transmitters of is rabies. While many people don’t think about skunks carrying rabies, it is still a concern. While typically nocturnal animals, skunks can also be seen during the day time as well so this does not necessarily mean that seeing a skunk during the day indicates it being rabid. However, this doesn’t mean you should approach a skunk, during the day or at any time. You should always use caution dealing with wild animals.
If you have any pets, you should keep them indoors when dealing with a skunk issue. Skunks have the capability of passing diseases to your pets as well. One of the most common is the passing of distemper to your family pet. They can also contract several different parasites from skunks, mostly from their feces.
Because of all the diseases skunks are known for carrying, it is very important to keep your distance from them unless they are already trapped. Even then, you should wear protective gloves just to be safe. If you are removing feces, make sure to not come into direct contact with it to prevent any possible spreading of parasites or diseases.