Wildlife in Pickering never takes a break. Some species may slow down and become less active in the winter, and the odd few even hibernate — but that does not mean that animal control experts don’t have work to do. In fact, skunks and other pests frequently set up shop in residential areas. Attics, basements, sheds, and crawlspaces are prime cold-season nesting spots for many species. Often, you won't suspect an invasion until there are multiple animals living in these areas on your property.
If you find skunks in or near your home, you may be tempted to remove them yourself due to the nature of their stinky scent and the potential destruction they may cause. Before you jump into action and try to learn how to get rid of skunks by yourself, take a moment to learn more about skunk behaviour during the winter months and call professional skunk removal experts at Skedaddle for assistance.
Skunks Seek Out Shelter in Cold Weather
Skunks, raccoons, squirrels, and other small mammals are constantly looking for ways to get into your house. If there are any potential entry points to your residence, no matter how small, these clever animals will find them and put them to good use.
You need to be vigilant if you want to prevent a wildlife invasion — especially in the winter when many of these animals are desperately looking for warmth and shelter. Skunks go into a state of torpor over the winter, which is more like a deep, restful sleep than true hibernation. They still go out and forage for food at nighttime as they wait out the winter in the comfort of your home.
In the spring, the skunks living in (or under) your property will become more alert, start creating nests, and eventually begin having babies. At this point, it becomes extremely difficult to remove a scared mother skunk and her young. If you find wildlife on your property, don't make the mistake of postponing removal until warmer weather out of kindness to the animal. It's important to take action as soon as possible to facilitate easy, safe removal of the skunk in winter.
Skunk Removal is Not a DIY Job
Skunks are sneaky animals who love to make their homes under your home. They will burrow under a deck, shed, or building to create a suitable den. Besides the inconvenience of having animals nest under your property, these unwanted guests can compromise the foundations of the structure.
Contrary to popular thought, skunks are not rodents — they're actually members of the weasel family — and they do not chew incessantly as rats and mice do. However, they are expert foragers and diggers, which means that they will stop at nothing to create a nice, warm home for themselves in the winter. This could mean disturbing your foundation or creating dangerous holes in your yard that could lead to twisted ankles, sprains, or falls for you and your family.
They can also drastically lower your quality of life if they spray: If a skunk sprays under your home, the smell itself can cause nausea and vomiting. This odour is very difficult to get rid of once it has permeated your curtains, carpets, and furniture.
Why Would Skunks Choose My Property?
In the winter, skunks do not hibernate, but they are not particularly active, either. They spend long periods of time in their dens. It may take a while for you to realize that one has moved in right under your feet.
Skunks will usually only emerge at night. If you suspect you have a skunk living under your house, you need to call in professional help immediately. Do not try to remove it yourself! You will most likely be sprayed or, even worse, bitten by the terrified and traumatized animal. Skunks don't climb, so look for signs of entry close to the ground.
Signs of a Skunk Infestation in the Winter
Skunks can live in basements, garages, open sheds, or simply under your house if it's warm and isolated enough. Knowing that skunks prefer to explore the winter world after dark is a good start to finding these animals on your property. Consider the following signs of a skunk infestation:
Fresh tracks in the snow first thing in the morning
Small holes (around four inches wide) in your yard or around the exterior of a deck, shed, or basement
Noises at nighttime around the area you think the skunks may be living
An unusual, musky odour that's not as strong as a true spray but still unpleasant
The Challenges of Skunk Removal and Control in Winter
Removing a skunk from your property is challenging enough at any time of year, but the harsh Canadian winter brings with it its own set of challenges. Snow and ice make animal entry points difficult to identify, access, and repair. Thick snow can obscure or camouflage potential entry points. Repairing any skunk damage and sealing up entry points is difficult when you are working in icy conditions. You need to remove any snow and ice from around the hole before you can make repairs or install mesh screens.
Fortunately, skunk removal professionals are used to sealing off potential entry points and have all the necessary experience and tools to get the job done, even in the winter. Skunk control in Pickering is a year-round exercise. One of the most effective ways of preventing skunks from burrowing under your property is to dig a trench around the perimeter and bury heavy wire mesh in the ground. This is best done before the cold weather sets in, as it is almost impossible to dig a deep enough trench once the ground freezes in winter.
Act Immediately and Call Wildlife Control in Pickering
Many homeowners delay dealing with skunks in the winter because they wrongly assume that the animals will move out again when the weather improves. But, as you've likely learned, this just doesn’t happen. Once a skunk has made itself at home under your home, it is not likely to move on without some encouragement. In fact, if you do not immediately deal with the problem of one skunk in the winter, you will have a far greater problem in the spring if an adult female gives birth under your home, porch, or deck.
The removal of an entire skunk family is far more of a challenge than removing one adult. Remember, skunk removal in Pickering never slows down! There are always unwelcome intruders making dens under homes, decks or sheds. If you find any evidence of skunks living on your property, contact Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control immediately for professional removal services and advice.