The striped skunk, part of the Weasel family, is a stoutly-built, short-limbed animal with a small, conical head and a long heavily furred tail. Adult males are 10% larger than females, with both sexes measuring between 20-30 inch in total body length and usually weighing 4.0-9.9 lbs, though some may weigh 12 lbs. The color patterns of the fur vary greatly, but generally consist of a black base with a white stripe extending from the head which divides along the shoulders, continuing along the flanks to the rump and tail. Some specimens have a white patch on the chest, while others bear white stripes on the outer surface of the front limbs.
Are they dangerous?
Yes, these guys are a Rabies vector species so rather leave alone especially if they seem friendly, aggressive or drowsy. They are nocturnal, so any active daytime skunk could be rabies virus infected. Like all skunks, the striped skunk possesses two highly developed scent glands, one on each side of the anus, containing about 15 milliliters of musk each. This oily, yellow-colored musk can be sprayed at several feet and several discharges either in mist form or direct jet. The effects of a direct "shot" from these guys will cause instant nausea and don't even consider date night later. Some people will respond with asthmatic symptoms when exposed to skunk odor. If sprayed in the eyes: rinse with lukewarm water for 15 minutes. If spray is inhaled: get to fresh air immediately as dizziness, shortness of breath and headache are sure to follow, then seek medical advice. If sprayed on the skin: remove all contaminated clothing (throw in furnace ha ha) and flush skin with water for 10 minutes to prevent chemical burns, then also seek medical advice.
The striped skunk inhabits a wide variety of habitats, particularly mixed woodlands, brushy corners and open fields interspersed with wooded ravines and rocky outcrops. At your house or property, you can find them with your nostrils first as their odor can be detected up to a mile away. Your pets could get sprayed, especially dogs are most prone when their curiosity beckons them to say hi to the skunk. A dead skunk will ooze out of its musk gland and decomposition will intensify the musk smell.
While primarily an insectivore, the striped skunk is adaptable enough to incorporate other animals and even vegetable matter into its diet. The most frequently consumed insects include grasshoppers, beetles, crickets, and caterpillars. In the winter and spring months, the striped skunk will supplement its diet with vertebrates such as white-footed mice, voles, eggs and the chicks of ground nesting birds. When in season, the skunk will also consume vegetable matter, such as apples, blueberries, black cherries, ground cherries, corn and nightshade.
Why are they in my home?
Skunks very frequently inhabit human dwellings. They'll live under sheds, porches, decks, etc. and in old abandoned woodchuck homes. Keep lids on garbage cans and remove unwanted debris from gardens. They may discharge, or scent mark these areas creating an unpleasant odor. Many people don't like skunks on the property, because of fear of stumbling across one and getting sprayed. Skunks often fall down basement window wells as well. In addition, they do a lot of digging, and damage a lawn.
How do you get rid of them?
If skunks have become a problem on your property or inside of your home, contact us. The best method is to direct capture and remove the skunks from the area. Skunk trapping can be tricky, due to the animal's ability to spray. Some trappers use solid-walled traps for this reason. Once the skunk is removed allow us to restore your porch, siding, deck etc back to original and exclude any further skunks, racoon and ground hogs etc. from entering ever again.