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How Skunks Can Be More Dangerous Than You May Think

skunk crawling near a home foundation outside

Skunks are animals that have quite a bad reputation because of their ability to spray humans and other animals with a putrid-smelling substance. They can do this because they have special glands under their tails that create an oily substance known as skunk musk. This spray can reach up to ten feet. One of the worst things about this musk is that the smell tends to linger for days.

While generally, skunks are not aggressive, they will use this defense mechanism if they feel threatened which is why it’s fairly common for dogs to get sprayed. You likely know what skunks look like in general. There are a variety of skunk species, but overall, these are the identifying characteristics of a skunk:

  • Skunks can be anywhere from 15 to 37 inches long and weigh between 1 to 18 pounds depending on the species.
  • They have long bodies, and short legs as well as claws to dig with.
  • They are usually black with white markings, but some can be more grey or brown.
  • All skunks have stripes, but the exact striping pattern can vary.

Are Skunks Actually Dangerous?

While skunks tend to try to stay out of the way, just like all animals, they will protect themselves if they must. They do pose some benefits to the environment as they can eat  insects and rodents that are pests. However, they are omnivores so they can often ruin plants and gardens. Skunks also will dig holes in the ground to look for grubs, and this can be a safety hazard as well as unsightly.

However, the main reason why skunks are dangerous is that they carry diseases and parasites. Skunks cause the following issues:

  • They are carriers of rabies.
  • They host different parasites and introduce them to your property.
  • They spread other diseases like distemper and salmonella.
  • Their spray can also be potentially fatal in rare cases when a person is allergic.

What Are The Best Ways To Prevent Skunks?

Because skunks are more dangerous than you might have realized, taking steps around your property to prevent them is necessary. Even just dealing with the scent of the spray alone is enough of a reason to try to keep them out.

 By taking some of these preventive measures, you can make your property less appealing to skunks and other wildlife:

  • Make sure outdoor trash cans have tight-fitting lids.
  • Store pet food and bird seed in airtight containers.
  • If possible, feed pets inside.
  • Remove underlying pest problems because skunks will come onto your property looking for prey if it's there.
  • Remove wood and rock piles that are potential den sites.
  • Fix any holes in your home’s foundation as skunks can get inside by slipping through these gaps.
  • Install fences around your property but make sure they aren’t easy to dig under.

Get Help With Skunk Problems

Finding skunks around your property can be frustrating, and now that you know the dangers associated with skunks, trying to deal with them on your own probably doesn’t seem like a good idea. The best way to get advice and assistance with skunks, and other wildlife, is to contact the professionals at Big Blue Bug Solutions. With more than 80 years of experience, you can trust that our technicians will get the job done effectively. Give us a call today to schedule a free inspection.