Habits: Striped skunks are typically docile mammals that tolerate humans in close proximity without
showing aggression. The most distinguishing characteristic of all skunks is their ability to direct a
stream or spray of musk for several meters from paired anal glands. The musk is a strong irritant to the
eyes and nose, and acts as a depressant to the central nervous system. If threatened, skunks will give
many warning signs before spraying their potential victim. If the potential threat does not leave, the
skunk will begin to turn its hind-end towards the threat and begin to expose its anal glands and the
bare skin surrounding them. This is the last warning a skunk gives before accurately directing a stream
or fine mist of its musk at the perceived threat.
Food: Skunks are omnivores and primarily eat insects, invertebrates and fruit. Striped skunks
will also eat human garbage, compost, and birdseed from feeders. Thus, they are can also be found
around homes in urban and suburban areas. Their primary method of foraging involves digging, often
appears as a single, small hole in a lawn, leaf litter, or sand.
problems with skunks and to make your property less attractive to them, you should follow some
1. Remain calm when encountering a skunk! 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
2. Secure your garbage! Skunks will raid open trash materials and compost piles. Secure your
garbage in tough plastic containers with tight fitting lids and keep in secure buildings when
possible. 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.
3. Feed pets indoors! Outdoor feeding attracts skunks and other types of wild animals to your
4. Close off crawl spaces under porches and sheds! Skunks will use such areas for resting and
raising young. Close shed and garage doors at night, and use chicken wire to keep skunks from digging
5. Protect your pet from being sprayed! Always turn on a flood light and check your yard for
skunks before letting your dog out at night
6. Keep bird feeder areas clean! Use feeders designed to keep seed off the ground as the seeds
can attracts skunks. Remove feeders if skunks are seen regularly around your yard.
7. Educate your neighbors! Pass this information along since your efforts could be futile if
neighbors are purposely or unintentionally providing food or shelter for skunks.
Skunks are an important natural resource. They are classified as a furbearer
species, for which established regulated hunting exists.