The striped skunk is a mammal that is infamous for the strong odour it can emit. Not only can this species wreak havoc on your senses, it can cause major damage to your home. Although skunks are not aggressive animals, they seem to be aware of their own odorous potential, as they are careful not to spray on themselves when targeting a threat. Because distinguishing healthy skunks from those infected with rabies is difficult, professional removal is always necessary.
Similar to raccoons, skunks do not hibernate in the winter. Rather, they will find a secure shelter to rest in for weeks at a time, only leaving the den to forage for food or water. By early autumn, skunk babies are weaned from the nest, and will be searching for a winter den alongside their mother. Skunks cannot climb, so their dens are located at ground level. In nature, skunk dens are found in hollows of fallen trees or below rocks, however in our urban neighbourhoods, decks, sheds, and porches provide the seclusion and warmth skunks are looking for. Skunk populations are at their height in the fall, making winter den sites a hot commodity. Natural dens will be claimed quickly, forcing skunks to commonly take shelter on our property.
When the temperature drops and the ground freezes, it can be extremely difficult to remove skunks from their underground homes. It is important to act on a skunk problem in the fall, before the cooler temperatures and winter weather arrive. It’s easy to determine whether you have a skunk intruder on your property by taking a look at your lawn for circular digging patterns, or digging near a shed, or deck. Their potent smell is also a giveaway. Act quickly if you have a skunk living on your property to prevent further damage throughout the winter.
Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control’s wildlife removal strategy is humane, safe and reliable. Part of our process involves clearing and cleaning any contaminated material that can cause serious health risks. Your Wildlife Technician will advise you of any cleaning and clearing that may be required depending on the severity of contamination. This will help ensure that your home remains safe for you and your family.
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 will burrow out dens under any structure without a foundation, which can cause weaknesses in 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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