Skunks - Problems They Cause, Methods of Removal and Prevention: Skunks are among the most feared animals which can set up their dens in and around your home. The main problem people perceive with having skunks around is that they can spray not only people, but pets and walls as well, leaving behind that powerful, gag-inducing smell that can prove a challenge to completely remove immediately. However, that's not all the problems you might encounter if a skunk moves near your home.
Problems skunks cause
The first thing is the most obvious reason you should avoid interacting with wild skunks – their ability to spray out a powerful scent as a defense mechanism. In the overwhelming majority of cases, they'll do this when a dog, a cat or a human being approaches them and they feel threatened. Be aware, however, that skunks travel for long distances usually, especially during mating season, meaning that if your dog or cat comes home smelling badly of skunk, it does not necessarily mean that you have one living near your home; it may just have been an unfortunate encounter. For the most part, the smell can be removed with vinegar and tomato juice, both of which being popular ingredients around any household. But a solution of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and soap also works extremely well in removing most of the bad smell, and the latter solution can also be used on walls without damaging them. However, you should always contact a wildlife removal professional in case you find a skunk in or around your home and want it removed safely, humanely and efficiently, and also receive tips, help and support on dealing with the aftermath.
The second main issue with skunks is that they like to dig, especially during spring, summer and autumn when insects abound. They will dig holes all around your yard or garden, destroying huge patches of your lawn in an effort to find whatever they can to eat. Being mostly nocturnal creatures, and living solitary lives for the most part, they're pretty hard to spot and will cause quite a bit of damage if left unattended. Furthermore, they can find openings in your home's foundation, under porches, or shelter themselves in hollow logs on your property, increasing the chances that they'll stick around for long periods of time. Their diet being half live things, and half vegetation, you can also expect your garden to be targeted, depending on what you're growing there. And considering that there's a lot of insects usually in and around a garden, skunks can and will target that area as well. That's why it's important to take care of the problem as soon as possible.
The last main problem with having skunks around concerns your personal health, and that of your pets. Skunks are notorious for carrying rabies, and while they may not be prone to biting that often, it's still worth considering the added risk of contracting the disease. Your pets may be more prone to actually get bitten, and if it happens that they're not properly vaccinated, they may face the risk of getting rabies themselves. Again, the chances are pretty slim, considering that skunks usually depend on their spraying to defend themselves – and it's usually a pretty effective method of keeping predators or curious animals and humans at bay. But it's still worth taking note of this risk, and not approaching a skunk without proper equipment and protection in an attempt to remove it from your property.
Methods of removal and prevention
The easiest, most affordable and comprehensive way to remove skunks and deal heads-on with the damage they've done to the property would be through calling is calling someone who is specialized in nuisance wildlife management. These kinds of services can also show you how to best prepare and organize your home and surrounding area so that other skunks won't be tempted to follow suit anytime soon. If the skunk has sprayed your home, your pets or even yourself, they'll also offer some guidance on how to get rid of the smell in an environmentally-safe and sound way.
But in the scenario that you don't want to call a wildlife removal expert, you'd probably want to address the issue at hand: why is the skunk there? If it just crawled in some crack in your home's foundation or a hollow log and set up camp there, simply deny access to the same location when it forages out for food. Keep in mind that they're crepuscular and night creatures, so you won't have any luck with them getting out during the day. Also consider that they usually stick around areas where they find plenty of food to eat – check out what they're eating, and limit access as much as possible to those food sources if access can't be denied altogether.
A good way to making sure that skunks are kept at bay is installing tall fences. They are not able climbers and usually avoid putting in the effort to do so. But they are excellent diggers, so make sure that fences or gratings which protect your home, or property in general, are dug deep as well. Otherwise you might risk the skunks digging access holes under them in order to get back to their homes or food sources.
Finally, do not, under any circumstance, try and approach a skunk if you're not properly trained to do so. Some people seem to think that just by throwing on some old clothes and using gloves, they can simply pick up and remove the animal. They are underestimating the powerful bite these animals can deliver and, most importantly, the risk of contracting rabies. Furthermore, when a skunk sprays, it doesn't aim for your clothes – it sprays everywhere. And getting the smell out of your old clothes will be the least of your problems. Your best bet is to hire a professional wildlife removal service and let them deal with the animal safely and efficiently right away, at an affordable cost and with minimal impact on the animal, on the environment, and to your property.
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