skunks in Alberta

More skunks are moving into residential areas

If your security light was triggered and you see a double white striped black cat, or there is a cloying odour, and it’s not the result of your barbeque baked beans… there is a good chance you may have a skunk visiting your home!

Between 2014 and 2016, the Alberta Wildlife Conservation Institute said there was a 176% increase in skunk populations. Large skunk populations can quickly happen as each female can have up to 16 kits (babies) in one litter. With the development of rural land and ongoing wilderness wildfires, wildlife is pushing closer to urban centres which presents problems for many homeowners.

An excellent read on skunks is in an article by Alison Hermance www.discoverwildcare.org/skunk-doesnt-want-spray-dog/

How To Recognize A Skunk’s Threatened Behaviour

Skunks are helpful animals as they eat bugs and rodents. However, they also have a protective spraying mechanism when threatened by people or pets. If you cross a skunk’s path, take notice if it is hissing, stamping its feet, shaking his tail and pointing it at you. When a skunk does any of these things, it’s a warning that it is preparing to spray. They can spray up to six feet away!

At first sight of a skunk, slowly and quietly back off and let it carry on its way. Skunks won’t usually spray in their dens or confined spaces. Because they can carry rabies, if you do spot one look for foaming at the mouth or if it is exhibiting strange behaviours. If so, these are signs that it could be a danger for homeowners and their pets and wildlife officials should be called immediately. If skunks somehow get in the house or garage, your best course of action is to open an exit, avoid the area and let them wander out on their own.

How Can I Get Rid Of The Smell If Sprayed?

If you or your pet has been sprayed, you can purchase an over the counter enzyme skunk sprays. A tested homemade wash recipe is: combining one quart of hydrogen peroxide, mixed with ¼ cup of baking soda and one teaspoon of dishwashing soap. Follow that with a second regular shampoo.

If you are sprayed in the eyes, use a sterile eyewash as soon as possible.

What Attracts Skunks?

Skunks usually breed in the spring. But, with cooler weather, they are looking for a suitable den for the winter months. They are lazy so if you have lush gardens, unsecured garbage cans, or open compost bins; they will go for fast food rather than catching their own. The skunk may just pass through, checking a block-long line of grocery food stops. Or they may dig or crawl under sheds, porches, and decks, becoming a new neighbour for the winter.

What Can I Do To Get Rid Of Skunks?

There are small animal traps that can catch skunks in a humane manner. The removal must be handled carefully for everyone’s safety. A pest control company will also find a good place to release them, so they don’t come back.

The easiest way to be rid of skunks is to call a pest control company like Martin’s Pest Control at 403 460-7213. Our technicians have the tools and experience to deal with the problem safely.

Once skunks are removed, look for places around your home they can get in again. Patch or board up holes and secure all types of outside foodstuffs in capped bins. Skunk whisperers say they don’t like the smell of orange peels or rags soaked in ammonia, so you can throw those in gardens or under porches and decks.