Skunks are not aggressive animals and do not pose a physical threat to humans, though they are feared. These mammals have unique traits that make them something to watch for and while they are relatively harmless, they can cause some major problems for people. Skunks can be destructive and can cause some issues to pets, so it is wise to gather as much information as possible if you have a skunk roaming through or living in the yard.
Many people are more concerned about the smell of a skunk, which is very strong and will last for along time. However, the smell is not the worst situation a skunk can present. In fact, they can do much damage to property and also pose some minor health risks. Homeowners need to be aware of the habits of a skunk and known what to look for.
- Burrowing – the animal will burrow under trees in the wild, but in urban settings, it can go right under a foundation, leading to structural damages.
- Chewing – they are known to chew through siding and wood to make burrows.
- Garden and Lawn Damage – Skunks will seek out grubs for food, which will lead them to dig in the lawn and garden in search of something to eat.
In regards to health risks for humans. Skunks ca carry rabies and can transmit the disease to humans as well as other animals. It can be very difficult to know whether a skunk is infected since they can be seen at all hours of the day, so it is best to avoid contact with their saliva.
The spray from a skunk is what most people are familiar with and that smell is one that will never be forgotten. Skunks will spray as a defense mechanism if they are threatened or cornered. The spray can cause intense nausea and vomiting and if someone is sprayed in the eyes, it can cause blindness. The spray contains sulfuric acid, making it very potent and it will cling to objects. Eliminating the smell is not easy, especially is a person or pet has been sprayed.
While skunks are not known to attack humans or animals that are larger in size, they do pose these threats. They can cause a lot of damage to homes and sheds and often borrow under decks and porches. If a skunk is known to live in the area, the smell will be constant and can be hard to deal with. Homeowners should be aware of smells and signs that indicate a skunk is near, and if necessary, contact animal control with removal assistance. With the possibility of rabies and getting sprayed, never try to capture or corner a wild skunk. Instead, report the animal to local authorities and stay away from the location of the den or food source.