BEWARE: The Slow Moving Skunk Will Attack To Protect Its Young
June is the end of the female skunk's gestation period, and they can give birth to as many as ten offspring called kits.
Kits are born blind and deaf with short, fine fur. They are nursed in the den for about six weeks before going outside. The babies are weaned at about two months of age, and they'll move to new territory.
Skunks are nocturnal and most active at night, they are generally solitary and forage alone. If you have skunks but don't know where the den is, this is the time of year that you can smell it.
If you or your pets get to close, they will use their self-defense mechanism, the stink spray that can shoot up to 10 feet and can be smelled up to a mile away for days, sometimes even weeks.
Skunks will attack when cornered or defending their young, and spraying is not the first method of defense. A skunk will growl, spit, fluff its fur, shake its tail, and stamp the ground. If the intruder does not leave, the skunk will then lift its tail and spray its famous skunk odor.
Skunks can carry contagious diseases, viruses, and parasites that can be transmitted to humans and pets through a bite. Some severe illness includes:
- canine distemper
- canine hepatitis
- intestinal roundworm (Baylisascaris columnaris)
Vaccinate your pets, it's the law. By protecting your pet, you're protecting your family. Rabies is a fatal virus that affects the central nervous system and transmitted through the bite of an infected animal's saliva. Only mammals can be infected with the rabies virus, including humans, domestic animals, and livestock. In CNY rabies is most commonly found in raccoons, foxes, skunks, and bats.
All bites and possible exposure to rabies must be reported to the local health department at 315-867-1176.
Are you trying to get rid of skunks? Here are a few things you can try aside from using metal garbage cans with a lid, not feeding feed pets outside, get rid of bird feeders, and keep crawl spaces under your porch and shed sealed to keep skunks from coming into your home. If that doesn't work, try these ideas from Bright Hub, but if you have pets please check with your vet first to make sure it's safe.
Skunks do not like the smell of citrus. Spreading citrus peels along the perimeter of your yard will help prevent skunks from entering your property. When the citrus peels dry up, scatter some more to keep that citrus smell strong.
Another homemade skunk repellent that you can easily do involves some items from your kitchen pantry. Boiling 6 cups of water with five pieces of ground cayenne pepper, one large whole yellow onion, and 5 pieces jalapeno pepper for 20 minutes will produce a concoction that you can spray along the perimeter of your house several times a week. Strain the mixture into an empty bowl, let cool, and then pour into an empty spray bottle. Skunks find the pungent and strong odor coming from the mixture offensive. Double up on the ingredients if it doesn't smell strong enough.
Ammonia emits an odor that does not appeal to skunks. Gather some old rags, soak them in ammonia and scatter along the perimeter of your property. Once the cloths dry up, just soak them again. Some people prefer to soak cotton balls and put them inside the skunk den and pathways. If you have a cat, you can use the litter in place of ammonia-soaked rags or cotton balls. The cat's urine smells like ammonia.
Installing motion detector lighting can ward off skunks. Nocturnal by nature, skunks forage at night. Bright lights can scare away skunks that may enter your garden. Place the motion detector light around the perimeter of your home, under crawl spaces, storage sheds, and other dark areas of your garden. You can also use a flashlight or spotlight and focus it on the entryway of the skunk's den. The skunk will move on if there's an uninterrupted bright light.
Let us know how it works out!