Skunks

Perhaps no animal has been more appropriately named than the skunk; it’s name comes from an old Algonquian Indian word that means “the one who squirts,” in reference to the skunk’s most distinguishing characteristic. A skunk problem is certainly one of the easiest to diagnose: torn up gardens, upturned sod and of course, their musky, pungent odor. While skunks aren’t the most dangerous creatures, their disagreeable scent and capacity to do a tremendous amount of damage to the yard makes them a wildlife nuisance that most homeowners are not willing to put up with.

Fortunately, Creature Control’s wildlife control technicians have the knowledge and experience to safely and humanely remove skunks (without getting sprayed!) and save your yard from skunks’ destructive foraging. Call Creature Control’s wildlife experts today at 1-800-441-1519 to get rid of your skunk problem!

Skunk characteristics

The skunk is found all throughout the North American continent, from northern Canada all the way to the American southwest. Skunks are active year round, even in dead of winter, and are very nomadic in their movements. They will wander quite a distance from their dens when foraging, though their range goes down in the winter, as they are more lethargic and will not wander as far from their den.

Skunks are omnivorous, feeding on everything from berries and fruit to bird seed, grubs, lawn insects and food dropped by humans. In their search for food they destroy yards by turning up the grass. They are very determined feeders if grubs are in the area and are capable of turning up entire lawns, sometimes destroying thousands of dollars of landscaping. Flower beds, sod and mulch are common targets, as are bird feeders (bird seed is like candy for a skunk). Click here to see what kind of damage skunks are capable of doing to lawns.

Skunks are very gentle, docile animals, but they are easily frightened by humans, especially if people react frantically when encountering them. If a skunk feels threatened it will approach and stomp its feet, sometimes making a sighing noise. Skunks are not usually aggressive with their teeth and skunk bites are rare. The skunk’s usual line of defense is its powerful spray. A skunk about to spray will turn its rear towards you and lift its tail; if you see this, get away as fast as you can! Skunks do not spray randomly but attempt to target their sprays; the liquid comes out in a semi-misty spray. Their range is about 10-12 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 (like in a Michigan basement, porch, or deck), the spray can saturate the structure and permeate the house with its foul odor.

Many people believe that most skunks carry rabies. This is not the case, but it is true that skunks are a large carrier of animal distemperment and sarcoptic mange. We have received calls for distempered skunks throughout the region, especially in the Jackson and Lansing areas. Though neither of these diseases are transferable to humans, they can be contracted by cats, dogs or other domesticated animals.

Skunks are very social creatures. Litters will forage together, and in Michigan more than one litter may den together. The average size of a litter is five to nine skunks.

Skunk Removal

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 pet food. Once the skunks are trapped we will pick them up and relocate them. A skunk will typically not range more than 600-800 yards from its den; they will never return if relocated over a mile. Creature Control removes all animals at least a minimum of 15 miles from their original location. Please call us at 1-800-441-1519 with any questions about our skunk removal process or to schedule an appointment.

Skunk Odor Removal

Some of the most common questions about dealing with skunks have to do with their pungent odor – and how to get rid of it. The distinctive musky “skunk smell” is actually an oil-based pheromone mixed with sulfur-based chemicals that is produced from 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 to remove the odor may actually spread the oils around if done improperly.

People disagree on the effectiveness of using tomato juice. The conventional wisdom is that the acids in the tomato juice will neutralize the skunk smell. Some people swear by this traditional remedy; others say it is ineffective. Because of its uncertain effectiveness, Creature Control does not recommend treating sprayed pets with tomato juice.

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; it may also 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.

Michigan Skunk Removal

Creature Control is a family owned and operated business based in southeast Michigan. We service ten counties and have technicians skilled in skunk removal all over southern Michigan. Find out more about our Animal Removal, Insect Pests Control, and Related Services in your area.