WILD SKUNK INFORMATION
We are sure you have been taught how horrible a loaded wild skunk is, we are here to break those myths! YES, they can and will spray, it is as a last resort. They WILL not merely run up to you and spray you! Spraying is their only means of protection, so if your dog is chasing it of course it will spray your dog, if you have it cornered it will spray you, BUT you or an animal has to threaten it FIRST. We have helped A LOT of wild skunks due to people killing their mothers, mothers got ran over, adults trapped and then people are afraid to release them from the trap due to fear of being sprayed etc... We put them in our vehicles, YES in the front or back seats of our personal vehicles to be released or cared for until they can make it on their own without ever being sprayed.
Skunks are a rabies vector species, that means they are considered more prone to have rabies than other wildlife. It does NOT mean they all have/carry rabies. Rabies is only contracted by saliva WHILE THEY ARE SHEDDING THE VIRUS (showing rabies symptoms). According to Florida Department of Health, there only been one positive rabies on a skunk in from January 2019 through June 2019. http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/rabies/_documents/2019-rabies-case-map-jan1-june30.pdf Reports of a rabid skunk for prior years was : 2018 1 report of a rabid skunk, 2017 2 reports of rabid skunks, 2016 0 reports of rabid skunks, 2015 0 reports of rabid skunks. Raccoons are by far have the most reports of rabies. Skunks do sometimes come out during the day, they also come out in the winter as skunks to not truly hibernate. Seeing a skunk out in the daytime or cold months only means that they are hungry, NOT RABID!
Skunks do not have a permanent home. If one shows up at your home it will not stay long, it is passing through (unless it has kits, they will stay a couple of months to raise their young) then they will take their kits and move on. If they make a home on your property we ask you let them hang out for a couple weeks, remove all outside food sources if you want them to move on faster (cat food, dog food etc..) if that is not an option for you we will come get them FREE of charge and relocate them.
Always remember it is illegal to own a wild skunk or care for a wild skunk in the state of Florida unless you are a rehabber licensed to care for wild skunks. As cute as they are and as much as you want to help them, please do not take it on yourself, please call us and we will put you in touch with a licensed rehabber who knows how to properly care for orphaned or injured wild skunks.
WINTERTIME AND SKUNKS!! When winter approaches, skunks will begin spending more and more time in their dens. Yet unlike other animals, skunks do not go into true hibernation. Instead, they go into a state known as torpor. Similar to hibernating, animals in torpor have lower heart rates, breathe slower, and have a slightly lower body temperature. However, skunks in torpor do not sleep as deeply as hibernating species, and can easily wake themselves on milder winter days to go out and forage for food. If you see a skunk out in the Winter it does NOT mean they are sick. It merely means they woke up and are looking for food.
Skunks in neighborhoods will often dig their dens underneath structures, such as decks and sheds. While fall and winter may seem like a good time to block off holes in these areas, doing so while there is still a skunk in the den can be disastrous for the skunk's survival and will result in more money to fix the damage they will cause trying to escape. Its is best to make repairs like this in the summertime, when it is easier to monitor if the hole is currently in use or not. We would like for people to let them stay for the Winter since they will be sleeping for the most part, they have their den, food and water source found to survive the Winter. If they are relocated now it is a death sentence for them. They do not have time this late in the year to build a den, find a food and water source to make it through the Winter.
If you have any questions or concerns about wild skunks, please call Brenda at 727-809-0975 or Kat at 727-482-3724.