Identification and Description
Best known for their skunk spray and tendency to use this foul smelling fluid as a defense against predators, skunks are medium sized mammals that are found throughout both North and South America, and most parts of Canada. A member of the weasel family, skunks are typically a black and white furred animal with short, stocky legs and proportionately large feet fitted with well-developed claws that are excellent for digging.
Skunks make their homes in clearings, pastures, and open lands that border forests lands. They seek refuge in thickets and timber fringes along streams in prairie lands, and create nests in hollowed logs and may even climb trees and use hollow limbs.
Diet and Feeding Tendencies
Skunks have a diet that is wide ranging, and eat several types of foods including plants, insects and even small animals including mice, rats and rabbits. Since skunks will typically eat anything that is organic, they thrive when they find food sources left around the home or in a garbage. Since there are few animals that dare consider them a source of food due to their strong defense tactics, it can be difficult to discourage a skunk from getting comfortable once they have discovered food and shelter.
Damage and Skunk Control
Skunks are digging mammals and often burrow under porches or buildings by entering foundation openings. Since they aren't above feeding on garbage or refuse that is left outdoors, skunks cause disturbances when they begin looking for food. Occasionally, they feed on corn, dig holes in lawns, golf courses, and gardens looking for insect grubs, and bother beehives looking for honey.
Sometimes skunks kill poultry mostly so they can eat the eggs. Eggs usually are opened on one end with the edges crushed inward. Odor is not always a way to know with certainty that there is or is not a skunk in an area. Dogs, cats, or other animals that have been sprayed by skunks sometimes will hide beneath houses making owners assume skunks are present.
Although it is not considered a frequent problem, rabies may be carried by skunks, and they are the primary carriers of the disease in the Midwest. It is important that professional help is obtained in order to remove skunks and skunk smell from a given area.
Animal Control - Interesting Facts
A house fly tastes with its feet, which are ten million times more sensitive to sugar than the human tongue.