MATING SEASON FOR SKUNKS
It’s February 14th and the heart of winter here in the Midwest. It is the time of year when the perception is that many wild animals are hibernating, and staying underground to keep warm and help them weather cold, harsh conditions. Not true for the stinky ones!
Skunks are very active right now, as for February through March is mating season for striped, hog-nosed, and hooded skunks, and that translates into “skunk smell.” We’re in the heat of it. That’s why all around Bloomington, Indiana or while you’re driving down the road you’ll smell skunk. The males are fighting and sometimes will spray each other when competing for a mate, or when females are unreceptive to courting attempts by their suitors.
Once pregnant, the gestation period for skunks is typically sixty days, culminating in female skunks giving birth to a litter of four to seven pups in April or May (sometimes June). One male skunk may breed with several females. After mating, female skunks usually leave the winter den to a separate maternal den.
INTERESTING FACT: Skunks are nearsighted, yet have a very fine-tuned sense of smell (the irony).
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU HAVE SKUNKS LIVING NEAR YOUR HOME?
Aside from an ongoing “skunk smell”, skunks are not aggressive animals and do not pose a physical threat to humans. However, the smell is not the worst situation a skunk can present. In fact, they can do a lot of damage to property and also pose some minor health risks.
In regards to health risks for humans. Skunks can carry rabies and can transmit the disease to humans as well as other animals. The spray from a skunk is what most people are familiar with. Skunks will spray as a defense mechanism if they are threatened or cornered. The spray can cause intense nausea and vomiting and if someone is sprayed in the eyes, it can cause blindness. The spray contains sulfuric acid, making it very potent and it will cling to objects. Getting rid of the smell is not easy, and anyone who has been sprayed will attest to that!
When it comes to your home and property, the stinkers can cause a lot of damage to homes and sheds, borrow under decks and porches, and can go right under a foundation, leading to structural damages. In addition, they are known to chew through siding and wood to make burrows. Garden and lawn damage can also occur as the animals seek out grubs for food, which will lead them to dig in the lawn and garden in search of something to eat.
INTERESTING FACT: Skunks often tumble into window wells and are not able to climb out due to their nearsightedness and poor climbing ability (darned short legs).
WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU HAVE SKUNKS INVADING YOUR HOME AND PROPERTY?
Skunks follow their noses, so if a garage door is open, a skunk may very well make it’s way inside. If the skunk enters the garage, don’t try and corner or capture it, but leave it alone. Leave the garage door up overnight, as it will likely leave. If it doesn’t want to leave, or if the animal(s) have taken up a more long-term residency on your property, it’s best to call in the professionals for some assistance.
Fortunately, pest control companies like Allman Brothers offer humane removal of Indiana wildlife, pests, and other large animals, like skunks.
If you suspect that you have a skunk “problem”, please give Allman Brothers a call at 812-322-1927. You can also reach us through our contact page here.