Skunks are renowned for the horrible smell they emit when injured, frightened or mating. The odour can remain on pets and in ventilation systems for weeks or months. But these animals can also cause significant damage to buildings and landscaping.
FACT: Skunks tend to burrow out their dens, which can cause weaknesses in porches, decks, sheds and foundations. 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.
FACT: They will often dig up lawns and gardens to find their food. A large portion of a skunk’s diet is made up of insects, grubs and garbage.
FACT: The smell from skunk spray can remain on skin and pet hair for days, weeks and even months. It often enters the ventilation system and will spread throughout the building very quickly. The noxious chemical emitted by skunks is very pervasive.
FACT: Rabies-infected skunks cannot often be distinguished from healthy ones. Rabies is transmitted through saliva from the infected skunk to humans and pets, often through a bite. The number of cases of rabies in skunks exceeds that in raccoons or foxes. Skunks have been found with rabies throughout Canada.
FACT: Skunk spray can be highly noxious, causing nausea and vomiting. It also contains sulphuric acid, which can cause temporary blindness in pets and humans. Skunk spray is extremely difficult to remove from clothing, skin and hair. It can remain strong for long periods of time, affecting everyone who comes into contact with it.
FACT: Skunks are social animals and several families may congregate in a single den site. There are typically 4-6 babies (kits) in a litter.
FACT: The most effective method in getting rid of skunks is to remove all the skunks and completely seal the entire porch, shed or foundation from further entry by digging a trench and installing screening.
FACT: Skunk dens are often hard to access and a number of extraction techniques may be required. Killing or capturing the adult likely won’t solve the problem, since the babies may still be hiding in an inaccessible area under the building. Signs of digging and burrowing are the most common way to locate a skunk den. Damage to lawns and gardens may also be evident.
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