Known for their distinct and dissatisfying smell, striped skunks are found in every county of Wisconsin, even urban areas like Milwaukee. Because skunks are nocturnal foragers who eat pretty much anything, there is a chance of having one in your own backyard. It is important to understand the behavior and habits of these animals so that you know how to react if you encounter one. Most importantly, never approach a skunk or attempt to remove it by yourself; call a professional Milwaukee skunk removal company like Skedaddle to assist you.
Read below for more information on striped skunks:
What Are the Physical Characteristics of Skunks?
Most people can easily identify striped skunks by their distinct physical characteristics. Skunks have a pure black coat and two thick white stripes situated along the back and the tail. Stripe patterns vary widely, but most animals have a stripe running from the forehead to the snout.
Males have a larger body mass than females. The largest animals can weigh up to 13 pounds, while the smaller ones can be as small as two pounds. Striped skunks lose a significant amount of weight in the winter, typically as much as 45% of their total body weight. The reduction in body mass is attributed to hibernation-like behaviors. Skunks enter a state of torpor during the colder months, only leaving their dens occasionally, and feeding rarely.
Where Do Skunks Live?
Striped skunks live alone and are typically docile; they do not often show aggression unless provoked. Skunks do not normally construct their own homes. Instead, they nest in burrows abandoned by animals such as foxes and other small mammals or dig their way under previously existing structures. Skunks also live in or near logs or brush piles. They search for underground nests in the winter.
Striped skunks will not hesitate to take up residence in your backyard if they see an opportunity. They tend to prefer yards with plenty of thick foliage and underbrush. Skunks rarely seek refuge in Milwaukee yards that do not have many hiding places.
What Do Skunks Eat?
Skunks are opportunistic feeders with a varied, omnivorous diet, which changes from season to season. In the spring and summer months, they consume mostly insects, including bees, crickets, beetles and grasshoppers. They also consume fruit, plants, worms, eggs and small reptiles.
In the winter, they spend most of their time hibernating and do not eat often. When they do venture out, they eat small mammals, reptiles and fish. Skunks rarely feed on vegetation in the winter, partly due to lack of availability.
What About Skunk Spray?
Skunks are known for their highly potent, unappealing spray. Skunks have glands underneath their tails that produce an oily liquid which is a mixture of sulfur-containing chemicals. It is the sulfur that emits the offensive odor. The primary purpose of skunk spray is to warn and ward off potential predators.
Striped skunks can employ their spray within seconds, and the mist can travel up to ten feet. Skunks rarely spray humans unless provoked. Never attempt to remove wildlife or approach one of these animals. While skunks are typically docile, they are wild animals and can act unpredictably.
If you are sprayed by a skunk, do not panic. Your health is not in danger, but the smell is very uncomfortable. It can take several days for the odor to fade away; however, certain mixtures such as hydrogen peroxide and dish soap can neutralize the smell.
Contact Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control in Milwaukee
If you live in Milwaukee and have a skunk that has taken up residence in your backyard, contact Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control today. We specialize in removing skunks and other types of wildlife humanely and efficiently. Contact us today to learn more about Milwaukee skunk removal or to receive a free quote.