“I love having a skunk living on my property!” said no-one ever. Because let’s face it, no-one wants to get close enough to one to get sprayed, let alone have to worry about catching a nasty disease from them. If this nuisance has moved in to your territory, here is everything you need to know to get rid of skunks once and for all.
Get to Know Your Local Neighbourhood Skunk
Although there are 8 species of skunk that roam North America, the striped skunk is the only variety that you are likely to run into here in the Halton region of Ontario. So if you see one of these house-cat-sized creatures with their distinctive black-and-white-striped fur wandering around, it’ll be obvious what you’re dealing with.
Why You Should Get Rid of an Invading Skunk
There is the obvious reason: their spray stinks to high heaven and the smell can spread as far as 1000 meters if the wind is right.
But a more serious concern is that they are an important carrier of the rabies virus, which they can spread to humans – most of us do not get vaccinated for rabies, so we are definitely susceptible to this nasty disease, which is 100% fatal if not treated promptly. Sure, not every skunk you run into will be infected with rabies, but the trouble is that while most skunks will tend to run away from a human being, if they have rabies, they will have no fear whatsoever, and are far more likely to approach you. If you do have the misfortune of being in contact with a skunk that you suspect is rabid, seek the care of a doctor immediately – you are required by law to report the animal too. All potential reports of rabid animals should be made to your local office of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for investigation.
How to Get Rid of a Skunk
First, figure out where they are living. If you suspect they’ve made themselves home in or around your house your house (porches, tool sheds and under decks are popular spots), the first thing you need to do is block off all of the entrances, except for one. The last thing you need is to end up with a rotting skunk carcass trapped under your deck, right? So make sure it can get out. Once the animal has left, you can seal up the remaining entry to their den.
How You Know if Your Skunk Removal Efforts Were Successful
The most common method is to sprinkle some flour at the opening of the last remaining entrance to their den. Don’t skimp on the flour either – a generous 1/8″ thick layer is in order here – this way, any tracks will be obvious and easy to spot. When you see one-way tracks going out, it’s time to seal it up so they can’t return.
If the flour trick doesn’t leave you certain as to whether or not the skunk has moved out, an alternative is to secure a one-way door to the remaining entrance. That way, the skunk can get out, but can’t get back in. The only potential problem with this strategy comes up if there are baby skunks in there. Depending on how young the little ones are, they may not be capable of leaving the den on their own. If this is the case, it could be worth it to just wait until the fall when they are grown and able to leave, and then attaching that one-way door.
If the one-way door thing doesn’t appeal to you, then consider purchasing a trap instead. The best kind of trap is a plastic box type since it dramatically reduces your odds of getting sprayed once you catch the skunk. However, remember a few thinks about skunks (and other wildlife) there are laws around trapping and relocation so make sure you’re well informed. Even if you did trap it, the associated risk of getting sprayed means it is not a recommended method for a do-it-yourself-er.
More Than You Want to Take On? Call Professional Wildlife Control
If all this sounds like more trouble than you’re willing to take on, you’re not alone. Although it’s not terribly difficult to evict a skunk, it is definitely time-consuming and risky as far as your risk of getting sprayed goes – by far the simplest method available to you is to simply call a local professional for your skunk removal.
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