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Problem Animal
Striped Skunk

Grouping Omnivore
Nicknames Wood Kitty, Pole Cat, American Sable, Pepé Le Pew, @#$%^&*!
Best Known For Odor, lawn grubbing and distinct coloration. Considered to have poor eyesight and depth perception. Very good nose. Excellent digger.
Life Span 1 to 4 years.
Mating Season February / March…The smell of love is in the air!
Reproductive Details After a 60 day gestation period 2 to 8 young are born in a litter. One litter per year. Young emerge from the den in late May.
Dispersal Males – August to September. Females – Many stay with the mother until breeding season the following February. You could have a harem on your property!
Habitat & Den Sites Edge animals. Fence lines, shrub lines, backyards. Denning can occur under any cover including your decks, sheds, crawlspaces, woodpiles and slabs. They will utilize abandoned groundhogs year-round; and in the winter will share the groundhog’s den system while the groundhog is hibernating.
Activity Cycle Nocturnal. Not a true hibernator. Will remain dormant for short periods of time throughout the winter when weather is harsh. Can lose up to half their body weight. Not uncommon to see out on overcast days.
Food Insects, beetles, vegetable matter, fruit, eggs, garbage, bird seed, grubs, human snack foods. Just about ANYTHING.
Damage Signs Yard grubbing that appears as cone shaped holes approximately 2 inches deep; unlike raccoons that also grub, but instead rip and tear sod apart. Skunks dig very precise holes. Damaged turf and your stinky dog!
Treatment Trapping. Remove housing “attractions” including areas under decks, sheds, sun porches, etc (see Ground Level Exclusion tab). Do not leave cat or dog food dishes out after dark. Fill in any abandoned groundhog holes and cover window wells. Uncovered window wells are a superb skunk trap. Skunks travel along the edges of houses and readily fall into these “pits” and cannot climb out. So, unless you are trapping skunks via window wells – cover them – especially when building a deck overtop. Do not deposit waste in compost piles. Treat yard for grubs before skunks find your yard! Odor Treatment Recipe: Mix 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide with ¼ cup of baking soda and a squirt of liquid dish detergent. Use immediately after mixing. Sponge and hand massage affected areas. DO NOT store the mix. Care should always be taken when using, especially when used around eyes and mucous membranes. It’s up to you to be safe.
Distinguishing Features Distinct black with white head patch and striping down the back. Stripe length varies greatly. Strong heavy claws for digging. Appears docile and unaware of its surroundings. Oh! That smell!
Risk and Diseases Skunks are high on the list of rabies carriers. Disease is often shared through common feeding sites such as cat dishes (spit swapping). Also susceptible to distemper and feline leukemia. Getting sprayed. It is always a bad thing when both ends are staring at you! If trapping squirrels and groundhogs set traps off at dusk to avoid incidental skunk captures. They can spray if they cannot lift their tail, they just prefer not to; just like you preferring not to go #1 with you pants still up! Skunks are vey approachable, take your time and talk softly. Stamping of front feet is a warning sign – so back off. Young skunks are quick to use the “gun.” Older skunks are “wiser” and often will bluff / negotiate themselves out of a bad situation – just like people do! If you encounter a skunk by accident, be calm, stand still and let them work on by you. If you make sudden moves or loud noises chances are you will be taking off from work the next day or be sent home early – stinky!
 

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