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Getting Rid of your Skunk Problem

There’s no doubt when a skunk is lurking around; its pungent, stinking odor is one of nature’s most distinctive smells. A den of skunks can ruin the enjoyment of your property not only from its smell, but they also can tear up your garden and lawn in search for fruit, grubs, and other insects they find tasty. Stop putting up with nuisance skunks; call Creature Control’s wildlife technicians who have the knowledge and experience to safely and humanely remove them without getting sprayed!

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Skunk Problems & Risks

Skunks are omnivorous, feeding on everything from berries to insects to food dropped by humans. In their search for food, skunks can destroy entire yards by turning up lawns in their determination to feed on grubs, and they are capable of destroying flower beds, mulch, and bird feeders. Skunks are large carriers of animal distemperment and sarcoptic mange, a contagious disease in dogs in which mites burrow under their skin causing intense itching. Though neither of these diseases are transferable to humans, they can be contracted by cats, dogs and other domesticated animals. Rabid skunks may transmit the rabies virus to other animals through their saliva. Though they are generally a docile animal and will use their spray as a line of defense, skunk bites are a rare occurrence.

Skunks are easily frightened by humans, especially if people react frantically when encountering them. If a skunk feels threatened its usual line of defense is to approach and stomp its feet, sometimes making a sighing noise. A skunk about to spray will turn its rear towards you and lift its tail; if you see this, run away as fast as you can! Skunks do not spray randomly but attempt to target their sprays. Their range is about 10 to 12 feet, but this can be much greater if the target is downwind. While most people are usually smart enough to stay away from skunks, it is not uncommon for overly curious household pets to get sprayed, which is a big hassle for the homeowner and may require a trip to the vet if the pet was sprayed directly in the eyes. If a skunk happens to spray while they are underneath a structure such as a Michigan basement, porch, or deck the spray can saturate the building materials and permeate the house with its foul odor.

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Removing Skunks

Creature Control offers effective skunk removal using odorless trapping (humanely trapping the skunk while restricting its ability to spray). Our technicians will evaluate the property looking for possible den locations. We also look for common areas of travel, “runs” or “slicks”, to identify the most likely direction the skunks are coming from. Traps will be set near feeding areas, bird feeders, gardens, or areas where there is exposed food. Once the skunks are trapped, our technicians will pick them up and relocate them. A skunk will typically not range more than 600 to 800 yards from its den and they will never return if relocated over a mile away. Creature Control removes all animals at least a minimum of 15 miles from their original location.

Removing Skunk Odor

How do we get rid of that distinctive, musky skunk smell is a common question we hear. That skunk odor is actually an oil-based pheromone mixed with sulfur-based chemicals that is produced from the musk glands on either side of the skunk’s anus. Once this oil-based liquid gets on a surface it is very difficult to remove; some attempts may actually spread the oils around if done improperly. We do not recommend the uncertain effectiveness of using tomato juice in treating sprayed pets. A much more dependable solution is a home-made remedy composed of common household products:

  • 1 liter (or quart) of white vinegar or 3% hydrogen peroxide (peroxide may cause bleaching)
  • 1/4 cup of baking soda
  • 1 tsp. dish detergent (this is a degreaser and will help break down the oils)

This solution can be used on fabrics or animals and it may be helpful to ask your veterinarian for revitalizing shampoos or moisturizers. Use straight bleach to remove smells on outdoor structures, such as foundations, decks, or even the ground.

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Scratching during the day may indicate the presence of a bat, but this is uncommon.

More common sources of scratching or clawing during the day is a squirrel or a yellowjacket hive in the drywall, if it is summer.

A scratching sound coming from the attic is a good indication of the presence of a bat. The scratching may be constant or intermittent and may occur at day or night, though with a bat, this scratching will usually be heard at night. This is the sounds of the claws on the bat's wings as it moves around.

It may also indicate the presence of mice, however. An inspection is necessary to more directly pinpoint the source of the sound.

Gnawing sounds during the day are almost always due to the presence of a rodent, such a mouse, squirrel, chipmunk, or sometimes a rat. Rodents are characterized by their large incisor teeth, which continually grow and must be worn down by constant gnawing. Rodents will gnaw on wires, insulation and anything else they can find in an attic. Many house fires due to electrical problems are caused by damaged wires due to squirrel gnawing.

If you are hearing gnawing or chewing sounds at night, it may indicate the presence of a raccoon. Usually this will be accompanied by other noises, such as heavy walking. If you do not hear this, it may be a flying squirrel or some other rodent.

A "rolling" sound is usually due to the presence of a red squirrel bringing in nuts or other debris and rolling it around up in the attic, as squirrels will use attics to hoard food. If you hear this sound during the day, it is certainly a red squirrel, since red squirrels are the only mammals that commonly get into attics that are active during the day (flying squirrels get into attics as well but they are nocturnal). The "rolling" sound associated with a squirrel is sometimes described as the sound of marbles rolling.

If it is not a squirrel, there's a possibility a rolling sound could be made by birds moving around in a tight space.

Rolling sounds at night can be caused by flying squirrels, which are nocturnal. It is made by the squirrel bringing nuts or other debris into the attic or wall.

Raccoons may also make a rolling sound, though this is less common.

Scampering or scurrying during the day is almost always attributable to a squirrel, as most other scurrying animals (such as mice) are nocturnal.

A scurrying or scampering sound at night is usually due to mice moving through the walls, ceiling, or along the floor.

Nocturnal flying squirrels may make this noise as well; peak periods of activity for flying squirrels are just before dawn and shortly after sunset. Their scurrying is light and fast.

Raccoons may also make this sort of noise, but with a raccoon it will be more of a "walking" sound, a bit heavier than a squirrel, and not as fast.

Heavy walking or crawling is a very unique sound that almost always indicates the presence of a raccoon, whether it occurs during the day or night.

Heavy walking or crawling is a very unique sound that almost always indicates the presence of a raccoon, whether it occurs during the day or night.

If you can clearly hear the sound of flapping during the day, it is definitely a bird.

If you hear flapping at night, it is either a trapped bird or a bat. Nuisance birds are generally not active at night, so if you hear flapping it may be a bird that has become trapped. The flapping of a bat's wings is very soft, almost like a dull whirring. If you hear a very faint, soft whirring, it may mean a bat is flying around nearby in the dark.

Crackling is a very particular noise that is generally made by a yellowjacket hive within the drywall of your home. yellowjackets will pick and gnaw on drywall and use the pieces to construct their hives. The sound of this gnawing is often described as a crackling; it sounds a lot like Rice Krispies popping. If you hear this, it means the yellowjackets are close to gnawing through the dry wall. It is not as common at night, but certainly can happen then as well if the hive is big enough.

Crackling is a very particular noise that is generally made by the presence of a yellowjacket hive within the drywall of your home. yellowjackets will pick and gnaw on drywall and use the pieces to construct their hives. The sound of this gnawing is often described as a crackling; it sounds a lot like Rice Krispies popping. If you hear this, it means the yellowjackets are close to gnawing through the dry wall.

A sound of chirping or chattering usually means there are baby animals present. What species depends on the season, but it is very common for baby squirrels, raccoons, or birds (especially chimney swifts) to make these noises. Please contact Creature Control for a more thorough diagnosis.

A sound of chirping or chattering usually means there are baby animals present. What species depends on the season, but it is very common for baby squirrels, raccoons, or birds (especially chimney swifts) to make these noises. Please contact Creature Control for a more thorough diagnosis.