The Richmond Register

Lifestyles & Community

February 18, 2014

Skunk mating season can be a stinky time

RICHMOND — Last week was Valentine’s Day, but the smell of love is still in the air. At least it is for skunks.

The reason: skunk mating season.

These creatures live in underground dens that can be found underneath buildings, porches, brush or lumber piles, or abandoned fox or woodchuck burrows. During winter, skunks remain relatively inactive although they do not hibernate. The normally nocturnal animals actually will become active during the day as well during mating season which begins in late January.

But beware, the males move slower and are more reluctant to flee when threatened during this time, making our chances of getting sprayed greater. The smell you may be noticing during mating season is when the female rejects a suitor; she shows him she is not interested by spraying him.

If your home has become a den for skunk romance, what can you do?

Well, if you can stand the smell a little longer, mating season will be over by March.

On the down side, you may have to contend with a litter of the little stinkers under your home by May or June.

The best solution to managing skunk problems is prevention. Seal off all openings to your foundation with a sturdy mesh wire. This hardware cloth should be buried 12 or 18 inches below the ground, with the bottom 6 inches bent outwards in an L shape to discourage the skunks from digging under it.

Make sure there are no skunks in the space you are enclosing. If skunks are present, attach a piece of half-inch hardware cloth to the opening. The wire should be larger than the entire entrance and hinged at the top while the other three sides remain loose.

This set up will allow the skunks to leave the premises but not get back in.

For more information on skunks, check out www2.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/for/for49/for49.pdf, or call our office at 623-4072 and ask for FOR-49, Managing Skunk Problems in Kentucky.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.

 

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