skunks Archives - Pest End

Category: skunks

Are Skunks Misunderstood?

We all know the distinct foul odor of skunks. In fact, many of us can identify that pungent odor from fairly far away. The smell is enough to make even the strongest among us feel ill and burn our noses and eyes. It is no wonder they have a reputation that precedes them. But is that reputation really just a misunderstanding? Let’s take a closer look at skunk behavior and what it means if you have a smelly visitor on your property, or heaven forbid, in your home!

Skunks are easily identifiable by their unique black and white striped appearance and fluffy tail. These adaptable and opportunistic animals inhabit most of North America, from southern Canada to Mexico, and from coast to coast. Skunks thrive in many different habitats, as long as food and shelter are available. They rarely travel more than two miles from their established dens, and a skunk will typically settle down within two miles of a water source.

Many homeowners mistakenly believe that when they encounter a skunk it is purposely trying to spray them or their pets. In fact, skunks, like many animals are more frightened by humans than anything else. A skunk has usually entered your yard or property to gather food either from your garbage or grill area. Usually this food is intended for its young or other family members.

Studies by the Mass Audubon Society have shown that skunks use their spray as a defense mechanism when trapped or pursued. Given the opportunity, however, they would prefer to walk away from danger and spray only as a last resort. Additionally, skunks will give a warning that it’s about to spray by arching its back, raising its tail high in the air, turning its back toward the enemy, and stomping its front feet. Should you and a skunk meet “face-to-face,” stand still or slowly back away so the skunk doesn’t feel trapped.

The National Wildlife Federation reports that a skunk may emit a mere whiff of odor to repel a minor annoyance or, when fleeing a predator it can’t see, release a cloud of foul musk that can stop a pursuer in its tracks. For its most intense, targeted attack, a skunk twists into a U-shape so that both eyes and rump confront the threat, then aims a stream of noxious liquid right at its enemy’s face. Gagging, pain in the sensitive membranes of the nose and mouth, even temporary blindness can result from a direct hit. All of this is done as defensive measure to protect itself and/or its young. Self defense is a common characteristic of most wildlife.

So, you decide. Are skunks malicious or just protecting themselves? If you have a skunk problem on your property, call Pest-End Exterminators at 1-800-287-4321, 603-382-9644, or 978-794-4321.

 

Wildlife Woes

Summer is a great time to watch the wildlife around your home. Each creature has its place in the ecosystem and plays its part in adding to it. Unfortunately, some wildlife can get too close or cause damage when they enter your property. From dumping garbage barrels to digging up gardens, wildlife can be a real problem when they stray too close to human habitats. Here are a few tips to keep the wildlife at bay this summer while still allowing the ecosystem to flourish.

  • Bunnies or deer in your garden? Fencing can be a real help when it comes to keeping out these wildlife. Make your garden and yard less attractive to wildlife by making smart planting choices and talking to your lawn professionals about good landscape design.
  • Bird feeders can attract squirrels, bears, and raccoons. Hang bird feeders where only birds can reach them. Store bird seed inside your home or in a locking metal bin that can not be opened by even the most clever of raccoons.
  • Trash barrels can be tempting to all sorts of wildlife including skunks, raccoons, and squirrels. Keep your garbage in a can with a tight-fitting lid that cannot be opened by animals.
  • Treat your yard for grubs and other pests that attract animals such as skunks and raccoons. The digging and lawn damage can be extensive if they find an infestation of grubs. You can identify skunk damage as small holes the size of a quarter to a half dollar. Raccoon damage can be recognized as large chunks of turf torn apart and strewn about.
  • Moles can damage underground piping and irrigation systems. Be on the lookout for tunnels and holes with mounds of dirt at the opening.
  • Groundhogs (aka woodchucks) like to eat flowers, shrubs, and yard and garden vegetation. They also dig large tunnels under decks, sheds, and hillsides.  The burrow entrances are usually soccer ball to basketball size.

 

Do you have a wildlife woe at your home? Call Pest-End Exterminators at 1-800-287-4321, 603-382-9644, or 978-794-4321, or visit our website for information about these pests.

Return of the Spring Skunks

Yes, it is that time of year again – the return of the spring skunks. Perhaps you have smelled the distinct and pungent odor of skunks when you leave your home in the morning or have seen one or two of them late at night while you are walking your dog. This is the time when skunks begin to come out from their winter sleep and stink up neighborhoods all over New England while they search for food and water.

If you have regular odorous visitors around your home, you may want to call Pest-End Exterminators to solve the skunk problem before you, your child, or your pet gets sprayed by these black and white critters. In the meanwhile, here are some tips to avoid a nasty spray.

  • Avoid walking your pet after dark. This is the time of day that skunks, who are nocturnal, typically start foraging for food. If you have to take Fido on one last walk before bed, make noise and bring a bright light to warn a skunk so you don’t sneak up on it.  That is a sure fire way to get sprayed. Chances are if the skunk hears you coming it may give you a wide berth.
  • Be alert! If you are out after dark, whether it is for a walk or to bring out the trash to the barrels, be aware of your surroundings. If you hear digging, banging, or animal noises, back away so as not to frighten the animal into using the spray defense technique.
  • Keep garbage locked – Skunks typically want food and water so if they smell your trash, they may be intrigued enough to investigate your property. Keep the trash cans covered to reduce the smell from getting out that would attract these pests.
  • Do not agitate a skunk. While it may seem like common sense to avoid skunks like the plague, if you see one on your property, let the professionals handle it instead of trying to corner it or trap it yourself. This can only end in a few weeks of bad smells and lots of tomato juice baths.

 

Do you have a skunk problem? Call Pest-End at Toll-Free: 800-287-4321  Phone: 603-382-9644  Phone: 978-794-4321.

Skunk Solutions

While the smell is unmistakable, there may be other signs around your home that you have a skunk problem including tipped barrels, trash that has been strewn around and digging in the lawn for grubs. The moment you realize that a skunk has been on your property you begin the exhaustive task of finding a solution to your smelly problem.

The first step in ridding your yard of a skunk, or worse yet, a skunk family, is to learn more about the species and how you can take steps to make your yard less appealing. Here are a few skunk facts that can help you in this area:

  • Skunks are opportunistic eaters who are most attracted to oily, meat-based baits like fish and chicken. Their sense of smell is particularly strong and will lure them to your trash barrels.Take steps to wrap and tie off trash bags, as well as cover the barrels so that the smell will not lure them to your property.
  • Skunks are repelled by certain smells such as citrus, mothballs and ammonia. If you have orange peels or other items that you could place at the top of the trash you may find that it can help.
  • Skunks are nocturnal and tend to not like light so if your barrels are near an automatic sensor, it may be enough to deter them. In addition, if possible don’t put out fresh trash until the morning, so you miss their main eating times.
  • Skunks are fairly mild mannered and will not use their potent spray unless scared or trapped. Knowing this, avoid trying to catch skunks on your own. Instead call experienced exterminators like Pest-End to handle your smelly visitors. Call us today!

 

Wildlife Wake Up – Spring Yard and Home Issues

With a yawn and a stretch, the spring wildlife is beginning to wake up. The warmer weather is just around the corner and nature is slowly coming back to life. According to the World Wildlife Federation, waking up from winter hibernation is hard work. Drowsy mammals have to shiver for hours to get their chilly bodies moving again. By the time they do warm up, they are ready for a good meal! That means birds, chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, deer, and skunks are beginning to look for food and sustenance around your home.

 

Here are a few suggestions on preventing and dealing with wildlife wake up season.

 

  • Always keep a cover on your trash, preferably one with a locking mechanism to prevent raccoons and skunks from seeing your trash barrels as a buffet line.
  • Check attics and siding before starting any spring projects in those areas. You do not want to surprise any mommas and her young. Safety first!
  • Keep bird feeders in areas where wildlife can not access other than your birdy friends.
  • Check for nests and families of birds and squirrels before you start your spring trimming of trees and bushes.
  • Inspect chimneys and vents to be sure no wildlife has used your home as their hibernation location.
  • Keep pet food indoors and inspect the yard before you let Fido out for the day.
  • Spring is traditionally mating season so stay away from wildlife that may wander onto your property.

 

If you have deer, skunks, raccoons or other wildlife that you need to prevent from entering your property give us a call at Pest-End Exterminators and we can evaluate the situation and help you take the proper measures to keep you and your loved ones safe.

 

Keeping Wildlife Out in the Wild

The wildlife in New England really is something to behold. From jumpy squirrels to masked raccoons, they are so interesting to watch as they bound around the woods looking for their next meal. This adoration comes to a screeching halt, however, as soon as those critters become an unwanted visitor on your property, or worse, in your home! Wildlife that has found its way into your home can become a nightmare by causing major damage to your property in the form of chewed up wires, ruined clothing in storage, holes in the siding of your home but also these animals often carry diseases. If you have a wildlife infestation call us for a solution today whether it is a rodent, raccoon, squirrel, skunk or groundhog. We can get rid of your wildlife problem.

If you are hoping to deter wildlife from becoming a problem, here are a few tips to follow in order to keep wildlife in the wild.

  1. Eliminate entry to your home. Seal holes, crack and spaces under doors. For smaller animals it really doesn’t take much to gain entry to your home.
  2. Secure Garbage outside your home. If you do not store your garbage cans in a shed or garage, be sure to invest in a garbage container that has a lid that can lock.  Raccoons are incredibly intelligent and can figure out a way to get into your garbage and make a huge mess.
  3. Clean your grill and patio. Grills can have a smorgasbord of grease, fat and leftover meat that serve as a great buffet for wildlife. This is just an open invitation to your property and eventually your home.
  4. Keep pet food and birdseed out of reach. Do not leave your cat or dog’s food bowl outside. This is yet another invitation for wildlife to come onto your property. Birdfeeders should be kept out of reach of squirrels who can climb and jump with the best of them.
  5. Store wood away from your home so that there is not a welcome haven for nesting that stays dry and warm.
  6. In your basement keep storage off the floor and keep the area neat so wildlife can not hideout down there going unnoticed.

Skunks

Sniff, sniff. Yuck what is that smell?

 

Springtime is such a great time to start getting outdoors and caring for the lawn and garden.  While people and pets enjoy this season and the warm weather it brings, so do the other critters that have been hibernating away the winter. In particular is everyone’s least favorite smelling critter- the skunk!

It’s that time of year again when the skunks begin to venture out for food. The remaining odor after a skunk has visited your yard is bad enough, but what if one of these malodorous creatures decides to make a home in your yard, or worse yet, sprays you or your pets?  Well, you are in luck! Just this month the Massachusetts Fish and Game Department published some great tricks and tips to deal with these stinkers.  Let’s take a look at what they suggest as well as some of our own tricks of the trade from the pest management perspective.

  • Make your Yard Unwelcome – Skunks love to raid open garbage cans and pet food that is left outside and unsecured. Secure your garbage cans with a locking lid and put all pet food indoors at night. Take out trash the morning pick up is scheduled, not the previous night. Keep compost piles in containers designed to contain but vent the material.
  • Secure Areas to Hide and Find Shelter – Every yard has these hidden areas whether they are under a shed, next to a bulkhead, under a deck, or around crawl spaces near your foundation. Since skunks will use such areas for resting and raising young, be sure to secure these areas well with mesh or chicken wire or some other form of protection.
  • Protect your Pets – Before sending Fido out each night to do his business be sure to turn on any outside floodlights to deter a skunk from entering your property, or to scare away any skunk that may already be out there. When possible use a loud noise to also scare away any critter that could be lurking in your yard.
  • Protect Yourself – Should you encounter a skunk, speak softly and move away in order to give it room to leave. Once you back away, the skunk will no longer feel threatened and will move off. If it doesn’t, try clapping your hands and making some noise from a safe distance.
  • Call Pest-End – If you notice skunks are regularly visiting your yard each night, you may have a problem.  Call Pest-End for an inspection to be sure they have not found safe harbor in your yard somewhere.

 

Skunks – a Stinky Situation

Even before you can spot the unique black and white pattern of this critter,  you usually can smell the powerful, pungent odor alerting you to the presence of one of the most hated pests around – the dreaded skunk!  Believe it or not, skunks are not all bad. The skunk is important when it comes to pest, insect and rodent control. They often eat mice, beetles, crickets, wasps, bees and other creatures. This balance in the ecological world, however,  is not important to the homeowner who has discovered a skunk under their home, deck or shed.  Let’s look at ways to avoid attracting skunks and most importantly the solution to this stinky predicament.

Identifying a skunk problem.

  • Skunks become active in the early spring when the weather begins to get a bit warmer.  As nocturnal creatures they are out hunting for food usually between the hours of 11pm and 5 am.  You may smell or see these very easily distinguished animals.
  • If you do not see the skunk you may notice: holes in lawn as they dig for grubs, skunk tracks (five toes on each foot with visible claws) and pilfered trash cans.

Damage Caused by Skunks

  • Obviously the biggest problem for most homeowners dealing with a skunk is the unmistakable smell.  A skunk’s sulfuric spray has a range of up to 10 feet, and its odor can be detected up to 1.5 miles. Most importantly once a skunk has sprayed it is not an easy smell to deal with or get rid of easily.
  • Skunks can carry contagious diseases, viruses and parasites that can be transmitted to humans and/or pets through a bite. Skunks are the primary carriers of rabies.
  • Skunks have strong forefeet and long nails which make them excellent diggers. They dig holes in lawns and gardens in search of food like grubs and earthworms.

Tips to Avoid Attracting Skunks –

  • Remove all food sources. Grubs are a delicacy for skunks,  so treat for grubs yearly to stop attracting skunks to your yard.
  • Garbage Maintenance – Keep bags and cans of trash away from house and securely closed.  Skunks are primarily carnivores and will eat anything that smells like rotting meat such as steak, chicken, hot dogs or other items that can be found in your trash cans.
  • Fill in holes from opossum and groundhogs burrows that are in your yard.  Skunks tend to take over these holes and make them their burrow.  They then mate and have babies in your yard!
  • Seal up areas like low lying decks and storage sheds.  These areas are a warm safe haven for skunks.  Enclose the foundation of these areas to avoid making an easy home for the skunks.

 

This smelly situation is not one you want to try to remedy by yourself.  Call Pest-End to help you come up with a solution to your skunk problem. Not only can they aid in skunk trapping and removal but also skunk exclusion after they have been removed from your property.