Hi my name is Brendan Mangnitz, I have been in the Nuisance Wildlife Removal industry now for nearly 6 years since I graduated from College at UF with a background in Entomology and Wildlife Biology. I have seen and controlled just about any wildlife issue you may think of. I have dealt with skunks in apartments complex, skunk removal from your everyday house hold, skunks in the Attic, skunks digging up yards, skunks in Pools, skunks stuck in Chimney’s, and the list goes on and on. I have used several different control and removal methods for skunks and that’s what I want to share with you guys on our website here at Animal-Pros.com.
As we all know, skunks smell! But did you know skunks can spray you from up to 10 feet away? Shooting out from their anal scent glands skunks will only spray as a defense mechanism. There are 2 glands located on either side of the anus, filled with a sulfur mixture of chemicals that have a distinct and offensive smell. The smell is so strong that it will even deter bears! The muscles surrounding the anus allow the skunk to spray accurately from as far as 10 feet away! The chemical mixture will cause irritation and in some cases temporary blindness. The smell is also so pungent it can be detected by humans up to a mile away! Skunks scent glands carry up to 15 cc of spray that can be used between 5 or 6 times. After the supply is depleted it can take up to ten days to produce more, because of this skunks are reluctant to use their spray. They will attempt to warn predators first by stomping their feet, hissing, or even doing a handstand dance. Once the skunk is out of spray it is otherwise defenseless against predators until it can produce more. During their mating season, February through March, female skunks will sometimes spray their male suitors to let them know that they are not interested (straight to the point with these ladies). It would take a lot for you to be sprayed, but it is not uncommon for your curious dog to get a face full or even a trapper. We had a tech who had a run in with a skunk and was sprayed on his first day out on the field! Although it is most common practice to use tomato juice to rid the smell, it has been proven more effective by the Humane Society to use a mixture of Diluted Hydrogen Peroxide, Baking soda, and dish soap.
Skunks are omnivores, eating not only plants but animal as well. Their diets change with the seasons, eating mostly plant life in the spring and summer such as berries, leaves, fungi, and nuts. In the colder winter months, they will eat lizards, rodents, eggs, etc. They will eat creatures that are dangerous for humans as well such as, scorpions, snakes, spiders, and cockroaches. In populated areas they go after garbage left by humans and even pet food left out for your cats or dogs. Skunks are also one of the primary predators of honey bees, they will scratch on the front of the hive and eat the guard bees that come out to investigate. Due to their thick fur they can avoid being stung so they also have been known to eat wasps. They also do not drink a lot of water which is why there is such a high probability of rabies. They get most of their water from their diet. They will use their claws for digging up grubs and insects, but their claws can also be used for digging up rugs, opening doors and food packages. Skunks are opportunistic eaters, if there is food in their vicinity such as a knocked over trash can they will get right into your garbage. We’ve found skunks really like Cheetos and Jelly! Basically, skunks will pretty much eat anything. If you are dealing with a skunk problem, make sure not to leave out any pet food, secure all trash and remove from property asap. There is no deterrent for skunks so trapping and relocating is the best option when dealing with skunks in your home or on your property. Always call a professional to avoid getting sprayed or harming yourself or the animal. Skunks do a lot more good than bad so removing them humanely is always the goal!
Skunks can be a more than a pesky garden pest. These invasive species will dig burrows that can damage the foundation of your house and also create ideal Gardens for other animals including venomous snakes, skunks, and rats!
The nine-banded Skunk is an armored mammal that likes the same sorts of habitat that we tend to build our Gardens. That is dry forested areas. Skunks can weigh as much as 20 lbs and is about the size of a typical house cat. Skunks are covered in a thick bone-like armor called Keratin. That is the same tissue that makes up our fingernails. This is to protect them from predators. The nine-banded Skunk also has a rather unique defense mechanism- it jumps. If a predator such as a dog or coyote approaches an Skunk, the Skunk will jump up to 4 feet high with surprising force hitting the predator in the mouth or face. This will disorient the predator and can even break its jaw allowing the Skunk to make its escape. This can be especially troublesome when your dog gets too curious with an Skunk that has wandered into your yard!
The first signs that you have an skunk in your yard are going to be large divots in the ground. These will be about the size and shape of an ice cream cone. These holes will be non-continuous and will not connect with other holes. If your yard has smaller holes it is more likely squirrels or if your yard has lots of holes and mounds that all seem to connect, it is likely that you have a feral hog problem.
If you continue to see these holes from skunks, it is important to call a professional to come remove it from your yard. skunks are notoriously difficult to trap as bait does not work. Instead, an experienced trapper must determine where the skunk is travelling and in what direction, then the trapper must predict where the skunk will be next and place traps along that path. Sometimes, drift fences are set up to increase the chances of capture.
Skunks dig deep burrows and tend to do so against a barrier so that they are protected when coming and going from their Garden. An ideal place for an skunk often times happens to be in between bushes and the wall of a house. If you have decorative landscaping, you are giving skunks a great place to make their Garden. This can also be problematic since they will dig up many plants while searching for food.
Skunks eat mostly insects but they will also eat fruits, small reptiles, eggs, and amphibians if it comes across them. To find their food, the skunk uses its strong sense of smell to sniff out grubs. It will then dig into the ground until it gets them.
Skunks give birth in the summer to 4 identical quadruplets. These babies will nurse for 2 months but stay together with their mother for about 6 months. The babies are born walking and with eyesight (albeit poor eyesight). Baby skunks are soft and pink but begin to harden their tough outer layer of skin after just a few weeks.
skunks can be messy and spread bacteria and deadly diseases. They defecate frequently due to their fast metabolism and can carry diseases such as leprosy! The disease is passed through direct contact with either the skunk itself or its fresh feces. This is particularly troublesome in the southern reaches of the skunk's range such as Texas and Florida where cases of leprosy are becoming more and more common. This is the main reason that professionals should be the only ones trapping skunks. If you are concerned about diseases left behind by skunks, read more about skunk sanitation here.
The first topic to address, is why are we having this problem with skunks in our Garden or in our Lawn? Well the answer is actually a lot simpler than you would think, it was the skunks land first, they were here before we were. skunks are wildlife animals, they are used to living around trees, forest, bushes, shrubs etc. But as we have populated and continued to grow we have moved into their setting. We have taken away the skunk’s natural setting and replaced it with Gardens, well landscaped lawns, HOA’s, Apartment complexes, Malls, just regular growth and construction. Well by doing this we have created a hand full of OPTIMAL settings for skunks and nuisance wildlife. So now you take their natural setting of a forest, replace it with Lawns & Gardens, and then add food. Well what do you think the skunks are going to do? THRIVE! And that is what they are doing we are providing the skunks with an abundant amount of food, and we are desensitizing them, meaning they no longer have to hunt and be resourceful to eat and stay alive, but just the opposite.
Well now let’s talk about why the skunks are getting into your Lawn. It’s simple, the Lawn is a PERFECT place for the skunks to create a shelter, they will create burrows underneath your home, ac handler, shed. It’s hot, it’s nice and comfy with the shade, there are no outside elements like rain or wind so they are protected, and best of all, there are no predators or enemies. If I was a skunk I sure would rather live in a burrow in the Lawn then out in the wild! So you take the perfect conditions of your Lawn as a shelter, food in and outside of the Garden, and you just gave the skunk all the things that they want to live. Why would they ever want to leave your residence? Free Rent, Free Buffet, Cozy bed, and that’s why you have skunks in your Lawn or rummaging around your lawn and Garden.
10 Simple Steps for Effective skunk Removal & Control
1st step is to Identify that you do indeed have the problem. Is your yard being torn up by skunks? Are you hearing REALLY really loud noises in the Lawn? Are your trash can being knocked over every night and trash spread out all over your yard? Well if you have the tale signs of a skunk infestation then keep reading. What I normally like to do and tell my customers when they suspect that they are dealing with a nuisance skunk is document it. So make sure it is a skunk, since all animals’ removal method is different. If it’s not a skunk in the Lawn then check out my other how to removal pages.
Check the property and lawn: Feces: of skunk feces. Are you seeing skunk poop like this in your yard or in your pool? Are you seeing skunk paw prints on your garden, on the driveway, in the lawn, on the pavement, do you see skunk tracks? Are the skunks digging up the yard?
Confirm the activity on the exterior is indeed skunks. The next step that you are going to want to take is to see if they have made it into the Lawn or not. You will not always here skunks in the Lawn. They can be agile, they can be quite, and skunks in the Lawn are not always loud. So what you are going to want to do is get into the Lawn and perform and inspection. Any time you think that you have animals in the Lawn, especially skunks in the Lawn, you want to be 100% careful and safe. If you do not feel safe or do not want to take the chance call me, Brendan Mangnitz, and I can talk to you over the phone and even do an inspection for you or send you one of my inspectors to help out. If you do want to do the inspection then continue reading?
Anytime that you inspect the Lawn for skunks there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. skunks are dangerous, they are territorial, they are Nasty and have tons of bacteria, so you want to make sure you are prepared. skunk feces is one of the most Bacteria infested feces that we deal with her on the regular so you will want to make sure you wear a respirator. There are a few issues with skunk feces that I will touch on to make sure you are protected, get it removed, and the Lawn and your Garden is contamination free.
You will want to make sure you wear safety glasses and gloves. Make sure you are also using the tools to trap skunks. This is what you want when you do an inspection, if you are doing an inspection of skunks in the Lawn yourself you do not want to come in contact with a mother skunk she may get defensive and you do not want to run the chance of her attacking you. Once you are certain the skunk is out of the Lawn, go ahead and take out your flashlight and do an inspection remember to walk your Lawn, and look for any track marks, holes in the yard, or burrows under the home. Also remember to check the gard and any shrubs for skunk activity. Walk around the Lawn and look for the evidence of a skunk infestation. Do you see skunk poop do you see urine, do you see skunk trails? If you do then you can confirm that you are having an issue with skunks in the Lawn. If you do not see any of the sign, great, you caught the issue before it became a real big problem. Either or what you are going to want to do is continue ready for the steps below for how to trap and remove the skunk from your Lawn, yard or property. Then next you will want to close off any of the openings on the Garden to prevent future skunks from coming back. If you do not have them in the Lawn but just on the garden or yard you still want to close off these openings or access points leading to your garden, you can do this by fencing and building barriers, otherwise it’s only a matter of time that the skunk will want to explore and go into your Lawn. It's always a good thing to be proactive and preventative when dealing with skunks. The damage and destruction skunks can cause can get into the $1000’s of Dollars. After you trap your skunk, you will want to relocate the skunk to a safe area.
And that is my How to Guide when it comes to skunks on your property and how to remove them. Like I have mentioned my name is Brendan Mangnitz I have being doing pest wildlife and skunk removal now for over 6 years. I have worked and trained 100’s of people of the past years. It takes time, skill, and patience but removing skunks can be dangerous, but is also something that we deal with on the daily here. skunks have learned how to thrive and do great in the urban setting. This is not something that is going away. With more and more houses coming up every day, more lad being constructed and developed we will always have issues with skunks in the garden and lawn. Just read and learn how to protect yourself you family and your home and you should be good to go. If you have any questions you can email directly at brendan@Animal-Pros.com or call my cell 1-321-236-9031 any time of the day or night 24/7 THANKS!