- Skunks are well-known for their foul, pungent smell.
- Most know to steer clear of the animals or risk the wrath of their specialized defense mechanism.
- There are multiple species of skunks but the most common is the striped skunk, which is the widely known black-and-white version.
- Skunks are very common throughout the state of Michigan and have increased in numbers during recent years.
Skunks have very distinct characteristics and are easily recognizable by most. If their smell doesn't give them away, these characteristics are:
- Distinct black and white markings
- Black fur
- White stripe(s) along their backs
- White patch of fur on top of their heads
- Long claws used for digging
- Striped skunks weigh between 4–10 pounds and measure approximately 25 inches lengthwise
- Spotted skunks are smaller, as they weigh no more than 3 pounds and grow between 15–20 inches long
- In many cases, these nocturnal animals prefer to live in open areas such as prairies, pastures, and forest edges.
- However, skunks have adapted and are comfortable living in highly populated areas, due to the amenities typically provided by humans.
- The animals are capable of surviving in most climates.
- During winter months, skunks rely on stored body fat for continued nourishment and may remain holed up in dens for several consecutive days or weeks.
- Nourishment available in areas of human activity compels skunks to live under buildings, decks, and patios, as well as digging dens in yards allowing them easy access to the nourishment provided by humans.
- The omnivorous mammals eat just about anything, including rodents, garden vegetation, grubs, and other insects, and often venture into trash bins for leftover food.
- Aside from the damage caused by digging and scavenging for food, skunks cause the most damage when they feel threatened. At that point it is often too late to avoid the smell!
- Skunk secretions are sprayed from the anal glands and cause horrible odors and temporary blindness.
- Skunk secretions can hit predators and people up to 10 feet away.
- Although skunks are detested for their odor, they also damage landscapes, plants, and structures when they dig for food.
- One of the most common carriers of rabies, skunks are also known transmitters of canine distemper, hepatitis, tularemia, and Q-fever.
Control and Safety
- While methods, like placing fences on property, help deter skunks, more effort than that is often needed to seriously reduce the possibility of infestation.
- Property owners should make sure that skunks cannot get under building foundations by sealing openings with mesh wire and other materials.
- Individuals can also attempt to limit food and water availability by securing trash bins, limiting rodent populations, and blocking entry to pet and livestock feeds.
- Keeping landscapes free of debris, such as overgrown shrubs and firewood piles, is also a good way to deter skunks.
Trapping and Removal
Landowners risk the possibility of being sprayed when they approach skunks. Mishandling can also lead to bites, which require immediate professional medical attention. Instead of attempting removal, property owners should call Critter Control of Ann Arbor to assist with any skunk problems. We employ only expert-level pest professionals to ensure jobs are done right and in the safest way possible.
We can help you get rid of skunk problems! Call our Ann Arbor office today!Request a Quote