Return to Previous page 



How to Get Rid of Skunks.pdf

Skunk Behavior
Activity: Skunks are nocturnal, so they are most active at night. They do not hibernate, but they tend to be inactive during the coldest months in winter, when many gather in communal dens for warmth. For the remainder of the year, skunks are generally solitary, living and foraging alone.

Reproduction: Mating season is one of the only other times when skunks tend to socialize. Skunks have litters of 1-7 young in late April through early June.

Digging: Skunks have strong forefeet and long nails, which make them excellent diggers. They dig holes in lawns, gardens and golf courses in search of food like grubs and earthworms. When no other form of shelter is available, they may even burrow underneath buildings by entering foundation openings.

Skunks are known to release a powerful smell through their anal glands when threatened. Skunks will usually only attack when cornered or defending their young, and spraying is not the first method of defense. A skunk will growl, spit, fluff its fur, shake its tail, and stamp the ground. If the intruder does not leave, the skunk will then lift its tail and spray its famous skunk odor.

Identify Skunk Damage
Skunks are notorious for the foul odor of their spray and their digging habits. Skunks will leave holes in your lawn when digging for insects, and they can damage your foundation if one chooses to construct a burrow underneath your home.

Signs of skunk damage include:
holes in lawn: small and cone-shaped; 3-4 inches in diameter
damaged corn: skunks can only reach the lower ears
skunk tracks: five toes on each foot with visible claws
pilfered trash cans
raided poultry houses: skunks will steal eggs and occasionally a chicken or other fowl.
skunk odor

Skunk Diseases
Skunks can carry contagious diseases, viruses and parasites that can be transmitted to humans and/or pets through a bite.
Some of the most serious illnesses include:
canine distemper
canine hepatitis
intestinal roundworm (Baylisascaris columnaris)

Skunks and Rabies: Skunks are the primary carriers of rabies in the Midwest. Rabies is usually fatal to humans and pets unless treated immediately. If you suspect that a skunk may have rabies, do not approach it - call animal control immediately for assistance. There are two forms of rabies in skunks: the "furious" form, where skunks become aggressive, and the "dumb" form where they become unphased by human presence. Some other signs of rabies in skunks to look out for include activity during the daytime, an unsteady or disoriented gait, drooling, and/or foaming at the mouth.

Fun Facts

A skunk's sulfuric spray has a range of up to 10 feet, and its odor can be detected up to 1.5 miles.

Skunks eat wasps and honeybees, and will often attack beehives.

Immune to snake venom, skunks are known to eat poisonous snakes like rattlesnakes.

Although skunks have very poor eyesight, they have excellent senses of smell and hearing.

A group of skunks is called a surfeit.