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Skunk

Skunks can be found across the continental United States and are known for their acrid, pungent odor and black and white stripes. Their musk, which is produced by a pair of anal scent glands, can be smelled over great distances. The bodily chemicals that produce the odor act as an irritant to multiple senses and may even lead to temporary blindness. Nocturnal and omnivorous, skunks eat many different foods, such as small insects, amphibians, rodents, and garbage.

Biology & Behavior

Skunks are members of the weasel family and possess one of the key family characteristics, scent glands. The 2 species of skunks presently inhabiting Utah are the striped and spotted skunk. Both are omnivorous, their diet varying from insects, vegetation, and small rodents to bird eggs and garbage. Both species have 5 toes and claws on their front and hind feet that are adapted for digging. ​Skunks generally den in burrows of other animals, rock crevices, brush piles, or spaces under buildings, but they will sometimes dig their own burrows. Their home range averages 0.5 to 1.5 square miles but may increase up to 5 square miles during the breeding season. ​Skunks are nocturnal, reclusive animals. Extra caution should be used if a skunk is encountered during the daytime or it is extremely aggressive. This abnormal behavior maybe be an indication that the animal is rabid. Studies suggest that the occurrence of rabid skunks is highest during the breeding and parturition periods. ​Striped skunks can be found throughout Utah. They are similar in size to a house cat, weighing 4 to 10 pounds. Their bodies are black, except for a white stripe on the forehead and a wide area at the nape of the neck that divides into a “V” and runs along the back. Spotted skunks, although found in the Great Plains, are primarily seen in the mountains and canyons of Utah. They weigh only .08 to 2.2 pounds. The body of a spotted skunk is black, with a white spot on the forehead and under each ear. They have 4 to 6 broken stripes on the back and sides and a white-tipped tail. Skunks usually breed once a year, in February or March, and bear young in early May. Litter sizes vary from 2 to 10, depending on the species and age of the female. About 2 to 4 weeks after birth, the kits’ eyes open. Kits are able to spray musk about 45 days after birth. Bobcats, coyotes, great horned owls, and other animals prey on skunks, but not as a primary food source. Humans are the main predators of skunks. Skunks are harvested for their fur and eliminated when they are pests. Although skunks eat insects and rodents, they are pests when their activities conflict with human activities.

Noises

What Does a Skunk Sound Like?

While they’re usually silent, skunks do have the ability to produce a range of sounds. They can squeal, hiss, screech, whimper, grumble, smack their lips, and stomp loudly. These noises are used to communicate fear, pain, contentedness, or to intimidate predators. Additionally, the pests make snuffling sounds when they’re actively searching for food and scratching or rustling noises when burrowing.

 

Tracks

Skunks walk with their feet flat to the ground. The feet of skunks have 5 toes on the front and 5 toes on the back. The tracks of the stripped skunks footprints appear like those of a miniature bear. The front feet have long claws that show up as dots well ahead of the toes. The rear feet have an enlarged heel pad that appears long and rectangular in shape in most sub-straits. The front heel pad is smaller and has a reduced additional pad which may show up as a single dot behind and center of the front heel pad.
Fronts: 1 5/8“ – 2 1/16“ x 1“ – 1 3/16“
Rears: 1 15/16“ – 2“ x 15/16“ – 1 3/16“

Skunk Gaits

Stripped skunks can travel in a variety of gaits. They can travel across open expanses in a lope. While moving more slowly to search and area for food they can travel in walk, often an over step walk.

Scat

Skunks can be found across the continental United States and are known for their acrid, pungent odor and black and white stripes. Their musk, which is produced by a pair of anal scent glands, can be smelled over great distances. The bodily chemicals that produce the odor act as an irritant to multiple senses and may even lead to temporary blindness. Nocturnal and omnivorous, skunks eat many different foods, such as small insects, amphibians, rodents, and garbage.

Damage

Skunks destroy landscaping and undermine the structural integrity of buildings. They dig cone-shaped holes around lawns three to four inches in diameter when searching for food and burrow under structures. The pests also let their droppings accumulate around yards and leave behind unpleasant odors. Finally, skunks are known carriers of rabies, as well as additional pests like fleas, ticks, mites, and lice.

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Commonly ASKED QUESTIONS?

What do you do with trapped animals?

That answer depends on the state in which you live. Each state has their own laws that dictate what we must do when it comes to controlling wildlife on your property. In some states, we can trap, transfer and release the animals. In some states we can trap the animals, but we can only release them back onto your own property. If you don’t want the animal released on your property, it must be humanely euthanized. Sometimes we don’t even need to trap the animal and a simple exclusion device (one-way door) can be installed to allow the animal to exit your home and be locked out.

How much does it cost to remove an animal?

There are a number of factors that determine pricing; location of the animal (i.e. – chimney, attic, crawl, wall void, living area), condition of the animal (i.e. – sick, aggressive, dead), location and condition of the property and time of year (i.e. – weather condition, offspring present?). Generally speaking, pricing will vary by location and species for just the animal removal and that pricing usually does not include the entry repair.

I think I have birds in my chimney, can you get them out?

The answer to that question is most likely “Yes”, but are you sure what you’re hearing is birds? Raccoons easily invade chimneys and they have their litters on the smoke shelf of fireplaces. The sounds baby raccoons make are often mistaken for birds in chimneys and removal can be difficult. The only birds that nest in chimneys are chimney swifts and they’re federally protected, so removal can’t be performed, but exclusion can be – once they depart. If you have a pre-fabricated chimney and birds fall between the cooling tubes, removal is nearly impossible.

How soon can you get here?

Office hours vary from franchise to franchise, but generally speaking, office hours are 8am – 6pm M-F and 9am – 3pm on Saturdays.

Clients Testimonials

“Prompt service and got the raccoon out of our chimney easily. No mess. Very friendly guys! Thanks for you help!”

Jill Morgan

“Zack and Jerry were nice, clean, fast, very professional, got those raccoons out of our attic nice and quick, they don’t try to over sell you, no pressure, I very much recommend them…”

Perry Knuth

“Zack and his tech at Critter Removers were excellent! They were always quick to respond! They made us feel like we were a priority. They were knowledgeable about the best way to go about solving our raccoon problem.”

Nathan Dougal

“They were quick to respond, and very efficient. They even responded to my call very early in the morning. I had a mom and 3 very big, very loud baby raccoons in my chimney and they were great at taking care of the problem.”

Tera H

“Zach was great! He answered our several calls late at night and walked us through the process of removing a dead raccoon from our chimney. He worked quickly and efficiently, we were very impressed. We will definitely use him again!”

Richie Glassford

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