Creature Control

Chicago Skunks Out of Control

If you are going to the greater Chicago area anytime soon, there is a great likelihood that you might have a run in with a skunk. According to Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the state’s skunk population is out of control. From 2009 to 2010, Illinois’ skunk population has increased by 46% (this number is arrived at by making estimates based on the number of skunk roadkill). It’s too soon to tell the rate of increase for 2010-2011, but it will most likely be even higher. One local animal control company says that they have trapped 687 skunks this year already, 200 more than the total for 2010. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says that 8,700 skunks have been trapped by wildlife control companies in 2011.

Why are there so many skunks in Illinois?

Two reasons are put forward. First, the skunk has no natural predators, other than the state’s motorists. Therefore, left to themselves, there is no natural competitor that feeds on skunks and keeps their populations in check.

Combine this with reason number two: Midwest skunks are especially prone to rabies, which traditionally has kept their population at manageable levels. But Illinois has not had a major rabies outbreak. in about 25 years, which has given ample time for the state’s skunk population to reach critical levels.

In rural areas, it is common to shoot nuisance skunks. In the city, live trapping of skunks is the way to go. Please, don’t try to live trap a skunk yourself unless you are prepared to release it. We get a lot of calls from folks who successfully trap skunks, but then are too fearful of handling the cage in order to release them that we have to come do it for them!

You can get more info on the greater Chicago area’s skunk problem here, or visit Creature Control’s skunk page.