Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Skunk Poop

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You probably never imagined you would be looking this up--but understanding skunk poop can help you. There is more than one way skunks can make life literally stink. Skunks are nocturnal creatures and often go undetected for long periods. So, if you suspect you have a skunk living under your porch, beneath your home, or somewhere nearby, it is a good idea to know what skunk droppings look like.

How to identify skunk poop

Hand holding magnifying glass

The next time you find droppings on your property, take a moment to see if they have the following characteristics:

  • Dark brown droppings that have a lot of insect parts in them are most likely skunk droppings

  • Skunk droppings can also contain large amounts of seeds, fur, berries, grass and feathers.

  • These droppings are tubular and tend to disintegrate when prodded with an object.

  • Depending on the skunk, these droppings can be ½ to ¼ of an inch in diameter and 1 to 2 inches in length.

Look in places where you suspect skunks might have been feeding or digging or near what you suspect may be a den. To tell if skunk poop is fresh or old here is what to look for: Brighter, black-colored droppings that are moist to the touch are fresh. Older skunk poop is often faded and will crumble or become pulverized. Squishing the droppings with a stick will tell you if it is soft and fresh, or dry and old.

Reasons you do not want skunks living around your home

Skunk hiding

One reason you don't want skunks living near your home is the potential of getting sprayed. There is nothing worse than the smell of skunk up close. It smells like burning chemicals and if it gets inside your house, it will linger for days and even weeks. You may get used to it, but when you go anywhere, those around you are sure to notice the smell. But there's another reason skunks are a bad idea to have around: disease. 

What skunks may be carrying.

A nasty smelling spray is not the only danger you have to worry about with skunks. The CDC marks this pest as a rabies threat and a carrier of the following diseases, viruses, and parasites:

  • Listeriosis
  • Hepatitis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Q-fever
  • Tularemia
  • Trypanosoma
  • Ringworms
  • Tapeworms
  • Canine distemper
  • Equine protozoal
  • Myeloencephalitis  
  • Feline panleukopenia virus

What do all those big words mean? For your dog, it can mean lethargy, fever, nausea, diarrhea and neurological damage that can lead to lifelong ailments. For your cats, feline panleukopenia is usually fatal. For your horses, it can mean severe nerve damage resulting in weakness, muscle debilitation, paralysis and lameness. None of which are good. But what is most disturbing is what some of these bad things can do to humans. Listeriosis begins with fatigue, diarrhea, rash and fever, and can end with paralysis and swelling of the brain. Hepatitis attacks kidneys, lungs, liver and the spleen. Roundworms like baylisascariasis make their way into the brain, liver and eyes, causing neurological damage, blindness and worse.

What to do when a skunk moves in

Skunk running

There are some things you as a homeowner can do to deter skunks from living on your property such as: removing food sources, installing bright lights or automated sprinklers, or putting up barriers that skunks cannot climb over. However, if you identify skunk poop, find holes in your lawn, notice a faint skunk smell, notice dogs barking at night, or actually see a skunk waddling away, then it is time to call a professional. Please, do not try to eliminate these noxious pests on your own. Thomas Pest Services is a locally owned and operated pest control company and the proud recipient of the 2013 and 2014 Angie's List Super Service Award. If you have a skunk problem, give us a call.


Tags: Skunks  |  skunk prevention tips  |  skunks carry diseases


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