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Latin name: Mephitis mephitis
Its coat is black, but it has two white stripes on the back.
It has a large feather duster shaped tail.
Its weight varies from one to 5.3 kilograms.
It has powerful jaws and long, sharp claws.
When threatened, the skunk can project a very sticky and smelly liquid. This famous liquid can cause nausea and temporary blindness. The liquid is sprayed through the channels of its anal glands.
The range of the spray is about five meters, but the smell can be sensed much further.
The female has one litter per year and each litter has 2 to 10 young. These young will come to maturity in about six months. As man is the only real predator of skunks, it is easy to observe young skunks playing without fear near homes.
Skunks are mainly active at night and rest during the day. It is a solitary animal that can eat anything: insects, seeds, fruits, nuts, plants, small mammals, birds, reptiles and particularly appreciates garbage.
Skunks usually occupy abandoned groundhog or fox burrows. They will use any hole big enough for them and will rarely dig their own burrows. They also use stumps, rock piles or rubbish heaps; they also take up residence under a porch or in basements.
This last habit is particularly common in agricultural regions.
When the skunk digs its own burrow, it is usually rudimentary, but when it inherits that of another animal, it can be very sophisticated. You can find one to five well hidden openings that lead to a system of tunnels and chambers. One of these chambers will be covered in leaves and will serve as nest. The leaves can also be used to seal the openings of the burrow when cold weather comes.
Skunks can leave their burrows in search of food at any time of day, but they usually leave their nest from the late afternoon or early evening to the next morning. She gets her supplies in a radius of about 800 m, and can venture up to 2 km from its burrow overnight.
When fall comes ( nov or dec), it will have acquired a thick layer of fat and will look for a deep hole where she will spend the winter. Some have seen up to 20 skunks in the same shelter, but usually they are much less numerous.
The male remains active until the temperature reaches about 10 ° C below zero; it can join his own family or other males, or even burrow alone. It may come briefly out of his shelter at any time of winter. One den can accommodate male and female, young and old.
In some parts of Canada, the animal begins to emerge from its winter slumber at the end of February and it resumes its activities towards the end of March.
Its only natural predators are the lynx, foxes, coyotes, wolverines and cougars.
As the skunk does not have many natural predators, its not afraid of much and is often found in the same environments as humans.
What you need to know:
If you encounter a skunk? First, it will try to get away. But if it’s very frightened and escape is not possible, it will alert you by raising its tail.
If you ignore this warning, the skunk will begin to stomp.
If this audible warning has no effect, it backs up and pretends to attack; it will scratch the ground with its front legs right after the fake attack.
If the warning is not enough of a deterrent, it arches its back, spraying her opponent in the eyes. The double jet is very accurate…
The smell is extremely powerful and will last for two weeks, so we advise you to listen to its warnings and get away immediately. Leave it alone and look at it from a distance.
If a skunk or a skunk family took up residence in your home or near your home, we advise you to contact pest management specialists to trap and relocate them. Beware, these animals are not easy to catch and they can expose you to serious danger if you attempt the capture them yourself.