Skunks
skunk face
Picture by Jackie Darbyshire
     
Everyone recognizes a skunk when they see one!

Nature has marked them in vivid black and white colors to signal to other animals that skunks should be avoided.

They do not indiscriminately spray unless startled or molested. They stomp their feet and raise their tail to give warning before spraying. Still, many unwary cats and dogs have come home wearing that unwelcome perfume!

Common complaints about skunks occur during winter which is breeding season. They tend to squabble and spray each other during mating. Unfortunately, they often do this under occupied houses.

In spite of this unpleasant defense mechanism, skunks are far more beneficial than harmful.

What do Skunks eat? Skunks normally eat those garden pests that ruin landscapes and gardens!

Skunks enjoy:

 Rats

 Gophers

 Slugs

 Mice

 Snails

 Harmful Insects


**Note - unless they find access to pet food or loose garbage, skunks are usually nomadic unless they find a suitable place to den that has a dependable food and water supply.

With proper preventative measures, this benign animal can become a welcome garden guest!


baby skunk
Picture by Jackie Darbyshire

Note - Live trapping is NOT a recommended solution to ridding your property and yard of skunks. It won't be long before more skunks are attracted to your home, especially if you haven't dealt with those issues that attracted them in the first place!

  Tips on living peacefully with Skunks:

#1 - Do not feed wild animals! Remove all food sources. Feeding makes them dependent upon man for survival, alters the dynamics of natural population control, and encourages the species to breed beyond the capacity of the area to support such numbers. Feeding creates a false ecosystem that eventually backfires and, in the end, the animals will suffer.

#2 - Putting a 3 foot high wire mesh fence that extends 6 inches beneath the ground surface will keep skunks out. Young skunks and spotted skunks may occasionally scale the fence but this behavior is rare.

#3 - To skunk-proof houses or out-buildings, seal all openings but one with heavy mesh or boards securely fastened to the building. Spread flour around the remaining opening. After finding no footprints for at least 3 days, seal the remaining opening. Be sure not to trap any skunks inside and do not do this during the spring as there may be baby skunks under the building. If they cannot get out, they will die and you will have another, equally unpleasant, type odor problem.

#4 - If you have a den currently in use, try this: sound, water, lights, cayenne pepper, and strong odors like ammonia often make skunks uncomfortable enough to move away. Vary the deterrents so they do not become used to them. Do not startle the skunk or it will probably spray you.

#5 - Bring pets in at dusk to avoid smelly confrontations.

#6 - Clear piles of debris that encourage skunk's natural food sources (mice, rats, and insects).

#7 - Make sure compost piles are put in sturdy, enclosed containers.

Download our pamphlet on
Living With Skunks


Click Here if your dog has been sprayed by a skunk!



Skunk Family out for a walk on the WILDES property!
Pictures by Nancy Callahan / Slideshow by Fiona Nguyenphuc/ Music by BB King