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Skunk Identification Guide

What are skunks?

The skunk is one of the most common and widely distributed wild animal living across the United States. They are not only recognized by their black and white color pattern but by the very unpleasant smell they emit.

Both the striped skunk and spotted skunk live throughout Utah.

The striped skunk is the larger of the two, weighing between six and ten pounds. They have black fur that covers their body and an identifying white stripe that begins at their head, divides into two stripes, and travels down the back and tail.

The spotted skunk is smaller, weighing between two and four pounds. They also have black fur that covers their body, but their white markings are a bit different. As their name suggests spotted skunks have white spots and short broken white stripes that cover their body.

Skunks are omnivores and feed on a variety of foods. As they have learned to live near people, they have discovered that our yards provide them with plenty of food and shelter. Skunks are a common wildlife problem in both urban and rural areas.

skunk in front yard

Are skunks dangerous?

 
Skunks do have the potential to be dangerous. They carry many parasites and pathogens that can make people ill. Skunks are primary wildlife carriers of rabies and can infect both people and pets.
 
To defend themselves skunks spray a foul-smelling liquid from a gland located at the base of their tail. This spray is very potent and is even able to cause temporary blindness if sprayed into a victim’s eyes. The smell lingers and is difficult to remove from skin, pet fur, and clothing.
 
In conjunction with health problems skunks are also very damaging pests. While foraging for food, they will dig through and damage gardens and lawns. They're known for killing poultry and eating their eggs. Skunks will also dig through trash cans and compost bins while looking for food in our yards.

Why do I have a skunk problem?

Skunks feed on a variety of things including insects, grubs, fruits, berries, compost, garbage, bird eggs, pet food, and small mice. Skunks are attracted to any property that offers them easy access to food.

Properties located near wooded areas, fields, pastures, or meadows tend to have the biggest problems with skunks. Though it is important to note that skunks are very adaptable and know how to make themselves at home in urban areas as well. They are happy to take advantage of the many food sources and hiding spots a more densely populated area offers them.

Where will I find skunks?

Outside skunks live near water along the forest edges, in grassy fields, and areas of dense vegetation. In our yards skunks burrow under decks, woodpiles, brush piles, sheds, and foundations.

Skunks are most active at dawn and dusk. However, if skunks are living close to people it is common to see them during the daytime hours as they search for the food they know our properties provide them.

How do I get rid of skunks?

A skunk infestation is a smelly and frustrating pest problem. The easiest way to get rid of skunks and other wild animals is to partner with Pest Pro Pest Control. We provide the effective services needed to protect Utah residential and commercial properties from wildlife, insects, rodents, and other pests.

At Pest Pro Pest Control, we are committed to helping Utah home and business owners maintain pest-free properties with our guaranteed pest control services. For more information about our wildlife control treatments, reach out to Pest Pro Pest Control today!

How can I prevent skunks in the future?

  • Keep your Utah home and yard protected from skunks with the help of Pest Pro Pest Control and the following prevention tips:
  • If you own chickens, make sure their coops are secure and that you gather their eggs each day.
  • Pet food is a huge attractant to skunks. Pick-up uneaten pet food each evening to stop skunks from using it as their dinner.
  • Maintain gardens and harvest ripe fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep locking lids on trash cans and compost bins.
  • Use fencing that is buried in the ground to keep skunks from burrowing under decks, sheds, and other buildings.
  • Remove things from your property that skunks could burrow under like fallen trees, brush piles, and old wood piles.
 

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