The striped skunk has thick, sleek black fur and a white stripe that splits into two at the shoulders and continues along each side of the back to the base of the tail. While the tail is mostly black, the stripe may extend down, with a patch of white at the tip. On its small head, another stripe extends from the top of its face down to the tip of its nose.
Attached to its semi-webbed toes, it has long straight claws that help it rip apart trees and shrubs for food and help it dig dens for shelter.
With small, short legs, the skunk is very slow. Because they can’t out-run predators, they rely on their scent glands for security. These glands, which are about the size of a grape, secrete a foul-smelling, oily, yellow musk. The spray of a skunk can reach up to six meters and the foul odor is strong enough to be carried almost one kilometre by the wind.
Skunks are truly omnivorous, eating a wide variety of foods. They eat insects, mice, shrews, ground squirrels, young rabbits, birds’ eggs, and various plants. During the autumn and winter they eat about equal amounts of plant and animal foods, but eat mainly insects in the summer. Skunks are especially fond of grasshoppers, crickets, and insect larvae such as white grubs, army worms, and cutworms.
Skunks are famous for being smelled long before they're seen. Even if they're not spraying, anywhere that a skunk frequents may be tainted with their odor, especially den areas. If you are regularly smelling a faint skunk odor while working in your garden or yard, you may have skunks in your yard.
If you find round, 3 to 4 inch-wide holes in the lawn, this is a telltale sign of skunk feeding. Unlike other digging animals like dogs or raccoons, skunk holes tend to be shallow and perfectly circular. They dig just deep enough to locate grubs and other soil-dwelling insects. Skunks may occasionally dig cone-shaped holes under building foundations that allow them access under the structure. Look for footprints similar to a cat's, but with five toes, in the loose soil of one of these excavations.
In lawns where grubs have damaged the sod considerably, skunks may simply roll the sod back like a carpet. They avoid digging if possible, so loose sod is a particularly attractive option for skunks. While it seems that peeling back sod is better than digging in the yard, if the sod has been upturned for very long, the grass may be badly weakened and require replacement.
If neighborhood dogs suddenly start barking at night, it may be because skunks are afoot. Skunks are nocturnal, meaning that they hunt at night. Dogs inside fenced yards will happily make a huge ruckus when skunks pass nearby on their nightly rounds. Even if these skunks aren't headed to your yard right away, it's likely they will eventually pay you a visit.
If you have no pets to accidentally cross their paths, it's possible that skunks may occupy the empty spots under your outbuildings or deck without being detected. If you watch closely in early summer, you may see female skunks taking their kits along as they hunt for food at dusk or after dark.
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 in the Midwest. Rabies is usually fatal to humans and pets unless treated immediately. If you suspect that a skunk may have rabies, do not approach it.
There are two forms of rabies in skunks: the "furious" form, where skunks become aggressive, and the "dumb" form where they become unphased by human presence. Some other signs of rabies in skunks to look out for include activity during the daytime, an unsteady or disoriented gait, drooling, and/or foaming at the mouth.
With their stout bodies, short legs, and flat feet, raccoons look a little like small bears. The pests are also distinguished from similar backyard pests, such as opossums and skunks, by their broad heads, pointy noses, and rounded ears. Mostly active at night, raccoons have large, specialized eyes that allow them to see in low-light levels. However, perhaps the most common way they are identified is by their bushy, striped tails and the distinct, mask-like band of black fur under their eyes. The pests are usually gray in color with black and white markings.
As omnivores, raccoons eat vegetation and meat. The vegetation in their diet consists of cherries, apples, acorns, persimmons, berries, peaches, citrus fruits, plums, wild grapes, figs, watermelons, beech nuts, corn and walnuts. When it comes to meat, raccoons consume more invertebrates than vertebrates, according to the ADW. Some of the raccoon’s favorite animal treats are frogs, fish, crayfish, insects, rodents and bird eggs. When food is scarce, raccoons aren’t above scavenging human trash or eating roadkill.
In residential lawns, raccoons easily construct dens in tree hollows, under porches and decks, and in rarely used sheds where they then feed on fruits, nuts, insects, outdoor pet food, and garbage. Though they are nocturnal and mostly solitary creatures, the pests are fairly destructive and give property owners many opportunities to discover their obtrusive presence. For instance, raccoons are messy eaters, and individuals may wake up to trash strewn about lawns. They also rip up sod searching for grub, steal siding off homes, and scratch up ornamental trees and fences. Finally, residents may be alerted to infestations of raccoons in backyards by the presence of their distinctive tracks.
You may hear the raccoons moving around in the attic. Since raccoons are large animals, you will probably hear thumping sounds or the sounds of the raccoons walking. You are most likely to hear them at night since raccoons are nocturnal. You will probably hear them when they leave after dusk and return during the night. If there are babies, you may hear them crying and whining.
You may also see the raccoons if you go into your attic and look around. Raccoons that live in attics may be active during the day. You may also see the mother leave the house during the day to go off in search of food.
Raccoons may leave urine and droppings throughout the attic. If you go in the attic and see and smell waste, this is a clear sign that you have raccoons living there.
Raccoons can carry several bacterial diseases and parasites that can be transmitted to humans and pets through a bite or the ingestion of raccoon waste.
Some diseases that can affect humans and pets include leptospirosis, salmonella, roundworm and rabies.
Some signs that a raccoon may have rabies include aggressiveness, unusual vocalization, and excessive drool or foam from the mouth.
Squirrels are small mammals. These tree scaling animals are medium sized rodents in a family that also include chipmunks, marmots, prairie dogs, flying squirrels, ground squirrels and tree squirrels.
It is often assumed that squirrels only eat nuts, but squirrels are actually omnivores, which means they like to eat plants and meat. Oftentimes squirrels rely on fungi, seeds, nuts and fruits for nutrition but they will also eat eggs, small insects, caterpillars, small animals and even young snakes. As their food source is highly variable with the weather, squirrels will prepare for colder months, when food is scarce, by burying their food.
Squirrels are large rodents and can make considerable sounds when inhabiting your home. Listen for loud scampering noises early in the morning and at dusk. Squirrels sleep at night and are most active when we are.
Squirrel urine can become very potent in your house and its smell will emanate through the walls and your heating/cooling vents. Many times squirrels can become stuck inside and die which will cause an even more powerful odor. If you begin to smell off-putting, foul odors, it could be a sign of squirrels.
Squirrels will chew through just about anything to find warmth and shelter. Inspect the molding, wiring, beams, and entryways to your attic or roof. If you find chewed up materials and wires, squirrels are most likely present.
Squirrels will use the insulation in your crawl spaces and attic to build their nests. Look for destroyed and ruffled insulation as well as outside materials like leaves and debris. Squirrels like to carry in goods from nature to build their habitats and will use your home’s materials in conjunction to do so.
Squirrel droppings are a sure sign of a squirrel infestation in your home. Look for scattered droppings in and around your attic and roof. Squirrel feces are dangerous and bacteria ridden. Be sure to hire a professional pest service for their removal.
It is not a cliché, squirrels really do love acorns. And they love to gather them and store them away for the winter months. If you see deposits of acorns in your attic or roof, a squirrel most likely brought them there.
Squirrels are considered to be pests as they can damage electrical wires and telephone lines outdoors. They also enter homes in the colder months to keep warm, where they can gnaw at wires, insulation or walls and make a lot of noise.
A1 Pest Solutions offers full service in wildlife removal. We humanely remove any animal from residences and businesses and we keep them out by repairing the animal’s entry holes as well as animal-proofing other potential entry points.
We offer a repair service to the damaged shingles and secure a heavy gauge steel screen over the entry hole. We also offer animal-proofing of roof vents, plumbing roof mats, pipes, chimneys etc to insure that our racoon, skunk and other wildlife removal is a lasting success.
A1 Pest Solutions Inc. is authorized by Manitoba Conservation Sustainable Development for Wildlife Control subject to the provisions of The Wildlife Act.
A1 Pest Solutions Inc. offers full service of wildlife removal. We will humanely remove or exclude any animal from residences and/or businesses, we keep them out by providing basic entry point sealing and/or providing recommendations for more extensive repairs to the animal’s entry point as well as inspecting other potential entry points.
We offer several pest control options to fit your budget to get you wildlife free.
Please call or e-mail to find out what option will work best for you.