**Wildlife Pests Require a Wildlife Professional & are NOT Considered Pest Control – We are providing this information as a service to our customers and would be happy to refer you to a wildlife control company to further assist you. **
Likely to be considered on or near the top of the list of nuisance wildlife, the strong odor associated with skunks is often one of the first signs of a problem. Digging around foundations, concrete slabs, sheds and/or under fences is another key to identification of skunk presence. One sign of a skunk that many homeowners are not aware of is the nose-hole marks left in soil and yards as the skunk roots around in search of food. Being omnivorous, skunks eat a variety of foods including mice, insects, larva, birds, eggs and fruits as well as carrion. Bird feeders make excellent skunk attractants as falling seed and therefore attracted insects make quick meals for skunks. In rare cases, skunks may enter homes through pet doors to feed on pet food. Securing pet doors at night and picking up pet food kept outdoors will help to deter potential curiosity.
Female skunks dig out underground dens in which to raise their young. There are four known species of skunk in Colorado including striped skunk (most common), eastern and western spotted skunks and the hog-nosed skunk. Depending on the species, breeding season will be in the fall or spring; however, in either case, young are born in the spring. Breeding season is one of the peak odor times of the year as well as when the young begin to express their scent glands. Skunks typically provide a warning prior to spraying by stomping their front feet on the ground. When encountered it is best to slowly and quietly back away from a skunk. The odor from their musky spray can be difficult to remove and may stain. Skunk spray directly to the eyes can also cause temporary blindness.
Aside from the spotted skunk species, a majority of skunks are poor climbers. Homeowners frequently find skunks that have fallen into window wells and are unable to climb back out. Covering window wells is a great way to prevent this from occurring with skunks and other wildlife as well. Homeowners should use extreme caution with at home remedies in attempts to rid their property of a skunk problem. Some on-line sites suggest pouring highly flammable products such as ammonia into potential dens; however, this process may cause the skunk to move further into the den eventually leading to its demise. Contacting a wildlife professional is the safest and often most effective option available.
Skunks can inflect significant damage through bites and with their long claws. The disease of primary concern in regards to skunks in recent years is the increasing rate of rabies. For this reason, as well as others, many states prohibit the transportation and relocation of skunks. Certain states make exceptions for specific species of skunks.