Why Are Skunks Living Under and Around Your House?

Skunks are attracted to houses, sheds, decks, and rarely attics. They take shelter underneath them, and if threatened will spray in an effort to protect themselves. The smell is distinctive, pungent, and difficult to get rid of once it is present.

The main attraction for skunks is food. Trash cans loaded with our leftovers, food for our pets that is left outside, even fruit has that fallen from trees will bring them in for an easy meal. Gardens are also a favorite place to feast for the small mammals. Skunks will tear apart yards as they dig to find insects to eat.

Another reason that skunks get into crawlspaces and under sheds or decks is to have their babies. These places keep the kits and mothers protected as they grow and offer shelter from humans, our pets, and male skunks. Mothers give birth in mid-spring to mid-summer. Once they are grown, there is a chance that they will return to establish a den in the same place where they were born, continuing the cycle of having a skunk near or under your home.

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The Dangers of Having Skunks Under Your House

Skunks can be destructive to your home and cause health concerns for you, your family and your pets. Skunks are naturally diggers and while underneath your home they can do a lot of damage. Skunks also can carry diseases as well as spraying and making life unbearable.

If a skunk gets under your house, the first thing they will do is start to dig. As the skunk burrows its way under your house, it can cause considerable damage to the plumbing and your electrical work. Your crawlspace is an ideal place for them to reproduce, and as they create a den, the digging can sever wires and cause your water bill to skyrocket when the plumbing is destroyed.

The first sign of skunks may be the smell. Skunks use their spray not only for defending themselves, but also to mark their territory. If the spray is close to or in your air conditioning unit, the scent can spread throughout your home making it difficult to breathe. If the spray is on the wood of your shed or deck, each time you walk outside, you can be overwhelmed by the smell. You don’t even have to see the skunk for the animal to be a huge problem for you and your family.

Rabies is one of the diseases that skunks can carry. At one time, skunks were considered the number one carrier of the disease in many states. While spraying is probably the most common response when threatened, skunks can also bite occasionally, especially pets. Your dog and cat are also at risk of contracting distemper if not vaccinated. 

A bacterial infection that can affect you or your children in addition to your pets is leptospirosis. Coming into contact with water or soil that has been contaminated by urine can bring about a variety of symptoms, and if not treated, the infection can cause death.

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The Difficulty of Skunk Removal

Removing skunks from under your home, shed or deck is a simple, yet expensive job. Wildlife professional with knowledge of the animal are best suited to the task. They have the necessary trapping equipment as well.

The same concerns at the discovery of the presence of a skunk remain when removing them. You would be forced to crawl into their environment, possibly coming into contact with waste or urine, which can carry disease. If the skunk has been creating a den by burrowing, you could come into contact with wiring or damaged plumbing which also can cause problems.

If a mother has burrowed to create a place to have kits, she will defend them. In a confined space like a crawlspace, she could spray, leaving the unpleasant scent behind, or in extreme cases she could bite or scratch which has the possibility of passing on rabies.

Wildlife removal professionals have the knowledge, equipment and experience to take care of all of this while you stay safe and clean. 

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The Problems With Cleanup After Removal

The most obvious cleanup issue with skunks is the smell. Skunks will spray both in defense and to mark their territory. You may have never seen the skunk but first noticed the stench. After the animal has been trapped and relocated, the smell will begin to pass with time. The positive is that the skunk will not be around to spray again and continue the problem.

The burrowing can also cause structural problems that need to be resolved. The foundation of you home might need to be reinforced or wooden framework repaired. The soil that is contaminated may need to be removed from your crawlspace or underneath your shed or deck then replaced with new dirt that does not carry disease.