Tuesday, August 20, 2019

We Got Skunked!

            A group of striped skunks have invaded out neighborhood. We noticed them one night as they emerged to eat the seeds dropped from our bird feeders. Earlier, I had seen holes scattered around our yard where they had dug for insects, mushrooms, earthworms, grasshoppers, beetles and grubs. I later found out they eat wasps and honeybees as well.
Skunks will eat honeybees.
Skunks are adept at digging.
The striped skunk range covers most of the continental United States from Canada to Mexico. A group of skunks is called a surfeit, and they travel no more than two miles from their dens or from a water source. They have poor eyesight, but excellent hearing and smell. In the wild, they live from 2-4 years and weight 6-10 pounds.
Best known for their black fur coat with a white stripe running up their back, these mammals are nocturnal—active at night—and for the most part, are generally solitary creatures that live and forge alone. However, they are known to hibernate during the coldest months in winter where they gather in communal dens for warmth.
Mating season is one of the only other times when they tend to socialize. The females have litters of one to seven young kits in late April through early June.
Skilled little diggers? You bet. They are proficient excavators with five clawed toes and can damage foundations when they tunnel underneath a home or a building to take up residence. A burrow can reach three to four feet below ground and six to twenty feet long, ending in round chambers lined with leaves and grass. Our furry Pepe Le Pews dug their burrows under the cement foundation of one of our pole buildings.
Everyone knows skunks are notorious for the foul odor of their spray, but did you know that they are almost predator-free creatures with only the great horned owl as an enemy? Their defense mechanism—their sulfuric spray—is capable of reaching 10 feet and the odor can be detected up to 1.5 miles away.
Although skunks may appear to be cute and furry, they carry many diseases including leptospirosis, canine distemper, canine hepatitis, intestinal roundworm, and rabies.
How do you rid your yard of them?  Professional trappers are the easiest means. To date, five have been removed from our yard and our neighbor’s property.
I’m hoping they will all be removed… and long-lost relatives do not show up for a late summer visit. 



  1. Judy, you did my research for me. LOL I want my heroine to have a run in with a skunk and was all set to research a little more about them. Thank you. I hope you are rid of them. Once they move in they are difficult to convince to move on. Our neighbor (when we lived in a rural area) had them under her house. She'd heard that moth balls would discourage them so she tossed moth balls from a couple of boxes under her house. The next day, they were all just outside the crawl space opening in a nice pile. She said the evidence of the paw nails were like a rake.

  2. My condolences. Here in Flagstaff, we deal with skunks every summer, and a few are rabid. I have 3 greyhounds who have the collective IQ of a turnip, so they chase them and get sprayed. So. much. fun.

  3. Oh no! I have never actually seen a skunk, but I have driven through an area where one of them had "skunked." Phew!

  4. I have seen a skunk jump into the bushes at nice, chased by a couple of giant hunting dogs. Yes, they did suffer the spray and it was horrible. I had no idea they carried so many diseases. I guess that's part of being wild creatures :)