While skunks may assist in the management of yard pests, few homeowners are willing to tolerate their presence because they dig deep burrows and defend themselves by discharging their fowl musk in response to a perceived threat. Landmark’s ABC Humane Wildlife technicians humanely remove and exclude skunks.
Skunks Living Under Decks, Sheds and Stoops
Landmark’s ABC Humane Wildlife technicians specialize in installing underground fencing that prevents skunks from denning on properties. Families moving into new homes in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs may wish to have stoops, sheds and decks screened with buried fencing to prevent skunk infestation in their yards. Preventing a skunk problem from reoccurring by installing underground fencing is an effective way to reduce the chance that skunks will spray pets.
Skunks Digging Holes in Lawns
Skunks are related to badgers and weasels and they are excellent diggers. This trait allows skunks to play an important role in creating habitat for other types of wildlife. Skunks excavate large burrows that are often occupied by other species of wildlife once the skunks leave.
Skunks help aerate lawns and control insect populations by digging for grubs and other insects in the grass. Sometimes homeowners awake to find two-inch deep conical holes in their lawns. This is an indication that skunks have been feasting on grubs, the larval form of June Beetles that spend the early part of their life beneath the grass as c-shaped white larvae.
Dogs in Illinois Can Catch Leptospirosis from Skunks
Skunks carry diseases, including rabies. One disease that is common in skunks that poses a threat to dogs is Leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease found in the infected urine of skunks, raccoons and other wildlife that can kill dogs by causing kidney and multiple organ failure. Pet owners, especially those who discover skunks in the yard, should speak with their veterinarians about having dogs vaccinated.
Dog Sprayed by a Skunk
Skunks spray an oily yellow volatile liquid. While they only release about a tablespoon of their musk, it can be very difficult to remove because it is so oily that it resists breaking down in water.
When a dog gets sprayed, don’t bring the dog into the house. Instead, give the dog a hose bath on the deck using pet shampoo. Harsher soaps like dishwashing detergent may be needed, but take caution to avoid the dog’s eyes.
Washing a skunked dog is much like washing a cooking pan that is coated in heavy fat. It takes lots of water, warmth, scrubbing and soap to cut the grease. Once the majority of the oily liquid has been removed outside with a hose bath, it’s time to bring the dog inside for a more thorough (and warmer) bath. Put a leash on the dog and guide him to the shower. This will prevent him from skunking up the house before he’s thoroughly bathed.
While carefully avoiding the dog’s eyes, apply dishwashing soap to the dog’s coat and rinse with warm water. Repeat this about a dozen times until all traces of odor are gone.
Once the dog is dry, if a lingering odor is still present, you can consider another bath with a dilution of baking soda and peroxide (again being careful to avoid the dog’s eyes), but this should not be necessary, as dish soap almost always sufficiently strips the oils in skunk musk allowing them to be removed from a dog’s coat.
Don’t worry about contracting a skunk’s diseases through its musk, even a rabid skunk cannot transmit disease through its spray. It’s the saliva, brain tissue, (or in the case of Leptospirosis) urine that can transmit disease.
Skunk Populations in Illinois are Increasing
Wildlife managers are watching skunk populations in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs closely. One reason is, skunk populations are increasing. The other reason is, skunks were once Illinois’ number one rabies carrier and increasing populations make a resurgence of skunk rabies in the Chicagoland area more likely.
In 1980, the height of skunk rabies, Illinois reported 443 rabid skunks, compared with only 12 skunks testing positive in the two decades between 1996 and 2016.
The factor that is attributed to the dangerous skunk rabies outbreak of the 1980s is heightened skunk populations, which enabled skunks to congregate and interact in greater numbers passing rabies along through their physical interactions.
Today’s heightened skunk populations in Illinois have biologists worried that rabies could strike Chicago’s skunk populations again. The State of Illinois has various laws to help control skunk populations, but in spite of these laws populations are rising.
Avoiding contact with skunks and other wildlife, having pets vaccinated, and seeking immediate medical care for animal bites are the best ways that humans can prevent rabies.
Bats Replaced Skunks as the Top Rabies Carrier in Illinois
Of the 255 animals that have tested positive for rabies in Illinois in the four years between 2012 and 2015, 100 percent of them have been bats. Bats have replaced skunks, raccoons, coyotes and foxes as Illinois’ number one rabies carrier.
Landmark’s ABC Wildlife Certified Technicians
Landmark solves every wildlife issue from A through Z. When animals invade your home, yard, attic, or business, we make solving your wildlife issue as simple as A-B-C.
Every one of Landmark’s State-certified wildlife technicians undergo extensive training before receiving their ABC Humane Wildlife Certification in humane wildlife control. Our courteous technicians will come to your home and solve any wildlife problem that is causing damage to your property or threatening the health and safety of your pets and family. You can rest easy knowing that Landmark’s ABC Humane Wildlife certified technicians have the training and expertise to be the best.
When it comes to protecting the health and safety of your family, pets, and property remember to always look for the ABC Humane Wildlife seal.
Go directly to ABC Humane Wildlife’s homepage to learn more about the originators of the nuisance wildlife control field in Illinois.
Wildlife in Illinois
The greatest threat facing wildlife is habitat loss. When Illinois and the Chicago region were comprised of deciduous forest, wetlands and prairie, a greater diversity of ecological niches existed supporting a greater variety of animals and plants.
Human expansion transforms once diverse ecosystems and removes them, making way for uniform landscapes, like homes and parking lots. The trees and plants that we then select for our landscaping are often invasive and fail to provide food or habitat for what wildlife remain.
In spite of our poor habitat management practices, some species of wildlife have endured and even thrived alongside us. Raccoons, for instance, have greater population numbers today than when covered wagons crossed this area 200 years ago. Fall population estimates for raccoons in the North Shore suburbs around Deerfield, Highland Park and Winnetka have reached 99 raccoons per square mile, and many towns in Cook County have reported record numbers of skunks in recent years.
Integrated Pest Management Principles for Humane Wildlife Control
Landmark Pest Management utilizes the humane wildlife control service of ABC Humane Wildlife Control & Prevention. Since Landmark Pest Management is an ABC Humane Wildlife Control & Prevention company, we know that ABC Humane Wildlife is aligned in the same Integrated Pest Management Principles that comprise the Landmark Difference.
- Modifying structures to keep wildlife out is the most humane, safe, and economical means of solving and preventing wildlife issues. Chimney caps, attic fan covers, attic vent guards, installing animal-proof screening beneath stoops and decks and correcting structural deficiencies should first be employed to reduce reliance on animal trapping.
- With adequate correction of structural deficiencies most rodent problems should be able to be well controlled without the long term use of rodenticide baits. When rodenticide baits are used as a knock-down agent for the immediate control of severe rodent problems, structural exclusion must take place in conjunction with their use to reduce reliance on rodenticides over time, with the ultimate goal of eliminating the need for rodenticides, since rodenticides may have the undesirable potential of reaching non-target species such as birds of prey and other wildlife.
- The control of bats and the remediation of bat colonies must center around the use of one-way-doors, called excluders, that allow bats to escape but not re-enter.
ABC Humane Wildlife Control and Prevention is headquartered in Arlington Heights and offers same day animal control service to Cook County, Lake County, DuPage County, McHenry County, and parts of Kane and Will Counties. Their phones are staffed by state-certified nuisance wildlife control personnel who will create a plan encompassing exclusion, and if necessary trapping, to resolve your animal problem and restore your home or office to safe, sanitary conditions.
ABC Humane Wildlife’s 24 hour telephone number is (847) 870-7175 or you can learn more about their programs and book service on the web by visiting www.abcwildlife.com