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There are many animal species in the United States that can become a nuisance when they are present in urban or suburban areas, but there are few that can be quite as repulsive as the smell that skunks can make if they are threatened. This is the most obvious issue that people will think of when they imagine the problems that skunks cause, but the truth is they can actually cause even more problems than this. The reasons below will also provide you with plenty of incentive to deal with a skunk problem sooner rather than later, as they can be very disruptive animals that do not make for good neighbors.
Casting Their Scent
The musk that skunks can produce is probably the most distinctive thing about the species, despite the dramatic white stripe that cuts across the fur of the skunk, and in many ways the scent is so bad that it cannot be described. This can be a problem in several ways, but one of the most common ways to find the scent is that a pet such as a dog or cat has encountered a skunk, been sprayed, and then brings the smell into a home, where it can be difficult to remove. Skunks will only really spray their musk if they have to in order to avoid confrontation, but inquisitive pets are certainly vulnerable to learning this lesson the hard way.
Damage To Yards And Gardens
Another of the reasons that skunks can be a nuisance is that they are not exactly good neighbors if they find their way into a yard or garden, and there are several ways in which they can be a problem here. In some cases they may find cavities under sheds or other parts of the yard or garden where they can build a nest, and from this spot they will then be able to cause a lot of problems in the yard or garden. One of the biggest issues is in areas where the property owners have a lawn, as these are regularly watered and home to plenty of insects and earthworms, and skunks can tear a lawn into pieces catching all of the insects just below the surface of the grass.
Scavenging For Food In Urban Areas
When skunks go looking for food, they are not discriminating in the food sources that they use, and this scavenging behavior can be another problem for those people living in urban and suburban areas. Skunks have sharp front claws which can easily cut through garbage bags and pet food stores, and when they find these food sources they will also cause a fair amount of mess where they have been eating. Skunks have a very varied diet, so they can actually steal food from a variety of different sources, and for gardens with fruit trees, they will often dig under the fence in order to get to the fruit inside.
Harm To Pets And Domesticated Animals
Skunks are naturally wary of other animals, and wild species will have learned not to engage or try to attack the furry creatures with the broad white stripe down their back, because of the effects of being sprayed. Pets and domesticated animals such as cattle or poultry can be harmed by skunks though, as they can often attack smaller animals such as chickens, or inadvertently spray the over inquisitive cow or sheep. Many skunks also carry rabies, which is a very certain threat for pets and domesticated animals, so it is worth dealing with a skunk problem sooner rather than later when the issue arises.
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does skunk removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of skunks - my main skunk removal info guide.