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March 2014 - You Can Smell It, Spring Is In The Air!

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Skunk viewed from behind

 

 

Trivia Question: True or False

Skunks are members of the weasel family.

 

Correct Trivia Answer: True

The skunk, a member of the weasel family, is represented by four species in North America; the striped skunk, the spotted skunk, the hog-nosed skunk and the hooded skunk.

 

 


Skunk

The smell we’re referring to is actually that wonderfully pungent smell of skunks. As spring weather encroaches, skunks become active and begin mating. Female skunks will reject potential suitors by giving them a little “squirt”, which lets EVERYONE in the area know that somebody just got rejected.

The skunk, a member of the weasel family, is represented by four species in North America; the striped skunk, the spotted skunk, the hog-nosed skunk and the hooded skunk. All skunks have relatively short, stocky legs and proportionately large feet equipped with well-developed claws that enable them to be very adept at digging. The striped skunk is common throughout United States and Canada. Spotted skunks are uncommon in some areas, but distributed throughout most of the United States and northern Mexico. The hooded skunk and the hog-nosed skunk are much less common than striped and spotted skunk's. Hooded skunks are limited to southwestern New Mexico and western Texas. The hog-nosed skunk is found in southern Colorado, central and southern New Mexico, the southern half of Texas, and northern Mexico.

Adult skunks begin breeding in late February. Older females bear young during the first part of May, while yearling females bear young in early June. There is usually only one litter per year and litters consist of 4 to 6 young but may consist of 2 to 16. The young stay with the female until fall.

The normal home range of the skunk is 1/2 to 2 miles in diameter. During the breeding season, a male may travel 4 to 5 miles each night. They are nocturnal in habit, rather slow-moving and deliberate, and have great confidence in defending themselves against other animals.

Skunks become a nuisance when their burrowing and feeding habits conflict with humans. They may burrow under porches or buildings by entering foundation openings. Garbage or refuse left outdoors may be disturbed by skunks. Skunks dig holes in lawns, golf courses, and gardens to search for insect grubs found in the soil. Digging normally appears as small 3 to 4 inch cone shaped holes or patches upturned earth.

Odor is not always a reliable indicator of the presence or absence of skunks. Sometimes dogs, cats, or other animals that may have been sprayed by skunks move under houses and make owners mistakenly think skunks are present.

If you encounter skunk problems don't despair, call 1-800-CRITTER (274-8837) and a Critter Control specialist can inspect your property for the presence of skunks and remove them for you.

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