Like other wildlife, skunks can be a nuisance in the suburbs and neighborhoods. While the animal is only doing what it needs to survive and thrive, people can get a little tired of seeing trash bags torn apart and having to give their dogs tomato juice baths. Thankfully, as skunk removal in Milwaukee experts explain, you will see fewer skunks during the winter months than in the summer, but make no mistake, they are still there. They are merely hunkering down to stay warm.
Adapting To Colder Temperatures
Skunks do not hibernate, contrary to popular belief. Instead, the animal enters a state of torpor, which is a state of deep sleep, not complete dormancy. This period of inactivity involves physiological changes, primarily as it concerns the regulation of body temperature, water balance, and metabolism.
While skunks remain inactive during the winter, they do experience times of awakeness. They will still leave the den and forage for food or water and exercise during these alert moments.
Before the cold sets in, the animal spends a significant amount of time eating, establishing multiple fat layers beneath the skin. Depending on the fat storage, a skunk will not need to leave their den frequently in the winter. As they enter a state of torpor, their metabolism and breathing slow, and their body temperature lowers, meaning that fat burns more slowly, allowing the animal to enter prolonged inactivity.
Communal Nesting and Dens
In the warmer months, most skunks are independent animals, especially males. However, it is not uncommon for skunks to share dens and capitalize on body heat in the winter.
While most animals spend the warmer months building nests and digging dens, skunks prefer to benefit from others’ work. The animal will seek shelter in abandoned burrows, preferably those made by woodchucks or foxes. However, in residential areas, skunks often prefer to nest under porches, decks, or other human-made structures.
The amusing thing is skunks are entirely capable of making their dens, and they do so throughout the year. They build maternity dens and other warm-weather homes, but they confiscate what is available and barricade the front with twigs, leaves, and mud to limit the winter’s cold air.
Prevention Tips and Humane Wildlife Removal
While it may seem harmless to allow a skunk to reside under your shed or back porch, remember that they secrete a foul-smelling spray as a defense when frightened. You also do not want the animal burrowing around structural supports or defecating in areas you cannot maintain.
Instead, even if you like seeing the cute animal waddle across your yard, make sure you secure spaces that might be tempting for an animal looking for winter shelter. You may want to put up wire mesh around decks and crawlspaces and seal off any entry points to a shed or garage.
You may also want to keep pet food and water up or take it in when your pet is not outside. If a skunk knows there is favorable access to food and water, it will return to your home.
How often do you see skunks around your home? While these animals are nocturnal, it is not uncommon to see them in cities and rural areas. If you see skunks often, you might want to contact a humane wildlife removal company to assess your property and secure any vulnerable entry points.
Have you noticed a strong foul odor emanating from under your porch or in your yard? If you’re concerned that the smell is linked to a skunk or community of skunks nesting on your property, it is crucial you contact our skunk removal Milwaukee team at Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control. A team of wildlife experts will inspect your property for any signs of skunks and compile a humane strategy for removal.