Monday, February 18, 2013

Animal of the Week: Skunks

Skunks are a great animal to learn about this time of year. True to the phrase Love Stinks, skunks are out of hibernation right around now and have only one thing on their mind: love. They can be quite cranky and quick to spray so if you see one, give them a wide berth.

Skunks live in all of the lower 48 states and there are multiple varieties but they are all the classic startling black and white. This is a warning to others that they are dangerous.

The spray they are most well-known for is not harmful but it is a good deterrent to anyone who has been sprayed, or had a pet sprayed!, to back off.

Of real concern is rabies. Skunks do carry rabies and you should call your local animal control officer if you find a skunk out and about during the day acting strangely. Like all wild animals, never handle a wild skunk.

To keep skunks away from your house, make sure that all potential den sites are covered and your trash cans have sturdy well-fitting lids. Skunks love dog food so don't feed your pet outside. Skunks are omnivorousness just like we are and they love to eat grubs in the spring and early summer. When you see little dig spots all over your lawn, a skunk has probably been by.

We have a skunk in our neck of the woods most years. They have very distinct foot prints that are often easy to find in the snow. As a beekeeper, skunks can be quite troublesome. They love to eat bees at night. They will scratch on the hive and a bee will fly out. The skunk catches the bee in flight and rolls it on the ground to kill it.

photo credit: ABCnewsgo

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