Skunks are renowned for the horrible smell they emit when injured, frightened or mating. The odor is very persistent and difficult to remove. But these animals can also cause significant damage to buildings and landscaping.
Skunks will burrow out dens under any structure without a foundation, such as porches, decks, or sheds. They are nocturnal (i.e. active at night), and will chew or burrow through wood and siding. Skunks are omnivores and a large portion of a skunk’s diet is made up of insects, grubs, and garbage. They will often dig up lawns and gardens to find their food.
Skunks begin mating in March and young are usually born in May, with an average of six kits per litter. The young are weaned at two months old, and the young skunks are able to spray at this time.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Signs of digging and burrowing are the most common way to locate a skunk den. Damage to lawns and gardens may also be evident. Follow your nose, as a skunk’s odor is unmistakable.
Be careful of approaching skunks. It is estimated that over sixty percent of skunk populations carry rabies.
Simply patching the entry hole doesn’t work. They will dig a new opening to regain entry or find their young.
The most effective method in getting rid of skunks is to remove all the skunks by live trapping and completely seal the entire porch, shed, or foundation from further entry by installing a barrier that is a minimum of six inches below ground level.
Killing or capturing the adult before weaning of young occurs won’t solve the problem, since the babies may still be hiding in an inaccessible area under the building.
Skunk dens are often hard to access and a number of extraction techniques may be required.
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