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). There has not been a positive rabies on a skunk in Indiana since 2004. Skunks do sometimes come out during the day, they also come out in the winter as skunks do not truly hibernate. Seeing a skunk out in the daytime or cold months only means 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.
Indiana Skunk Rescue is a not for profit, all of our services are free of charge. Our goal is to help the skunks in need.
Donations for our rescue are appreciated but not mandatory for our service.
Always remember it is illegal to own a wild skunk or care for a wild skunk in the state of Indiana. As cute as they are and as much as you want to help them, please do not take it on yourself, please call us.
WINTERTIME AND SKUNKS!! It's that time of year! As 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 summer time, 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 though the Winter.
WE WILL NOT RELOCATE A SKUNK OCTOBER 14TH THROUGH APRIL 1ST. We will help you anyway that we can, but I will not come relocate them. Winter is hard enough on them without being trapped and relocated in the freezing cold with no home, no food, no water. It would be like picking you up and dropping you off in the ocean and wishing you the best of luck on finding land. They will be sleeping most of the time and should not be a bother to you. If I do that I might as well kill them at your house and I can't do that.
This is Julie French McLaughlin founder of Indiana Skunk Rescue.
I also help pretty much all of Indiana's wildlife mammals. I merely specialize in skunks.
I am going to list things you can do for different species of Indiana wildlife.
What would be wonderful is if you all would take the opportunity on this beautiful Saturday to fix areas on your property that wildlife can get into.
It would save you the headache of having wildlife move in that you do not want there, it would save the wildlife from being removed or killed unnecessarily.
Walk around your property and if the weather has destroyed any open areas around your foundation, deck, your roof etc.., repair them this Saturday. It's only Tuesday you have plenty of time to go get the supplies by Saturday :-)
Look for any holes that wildlife could get into to make a little home for them and their babies that will be born here shortly.
If you have piles of junk laying around your property clean it up so nothing moves into it. These animals have no idea it's your home. They do not know they're intruding on your space or they are not welcome there. All they know is they found someplace warm to move into to have their babies.
If wildlife moves someplace you do not want them I'm going to list by species what to do.
Raccoons.. set up lights and play music loudly. Play Rap or Hard Rock. Make it as bright as you possibly can, play the music as loud as you can without disturbing your neighbors. They will leave and find someplace else to live.
If babies come up to you and they're trying to crawl up your leg or they're following you, they have lost their mother and they're starving and they're coming to you for food.
Call a wildlife rehabilitator immediately. Most wildlife rehabilitators are swamped so leave a message and they will get back to you. Do not raise them yourself!
Bunnies... Rabbits will make their nest in your yard and have their young in your burn piles so please before you light your burn pile make sure nothing is living in there. I got several calls last year where people were crying and frantic that they had set babies on fire. I realize they make their nest in the middle of your yard and it's extremely inconvenient and you think their mothers have left them. Rabbits only come and feed their young twice a day. That keeps predators from knowing where their babies are. Their mother will be back and you will probably never see her. She jumps in and she feeds them, cleans them and then she's gone. If you can leave her nest alone that would be wonderful. The bunnies will be out of your yard before you know it!
Deer... Deer also leave their fawns and only come to feed. The fawns are perfectly fine where they are at. Their mother has not abandoned them, she is close by. Again she does this so she does not lead predators to her young. The only time you save a fawn is if it's ears are curling backwards. It is extremely obvious when this happens. You can see it from far away, the little tips of their ears will roll backwards. That means they are dehydrated and their mother has passed away. If that is the case you need to get a hold of a wildlife rehabilitator like myself instantly. Please do not try to raise any wildlife by yourself, it is against the law.
Opossums.... When opossums are born they are tiny undeveloped embryos. They crawl into their mother's pouch and that is where they stay. As they get older they ride on the mother's back. When they fall off, she keeps walking. She does not wait around for them. If you find baby opossums or a mother that has been hit please call a wildlife rehabilitator. Baby opossums are on their own when their bodies are 8 in Long. That does not include the tail. A lot of times people find opossums and they think they have lost their mother because they're so little. They're pretty little when they're on their own so if you find an opossum that is under 8 in from nose to the start of their tail, call a wildlife rehabilitator.
Skunks.... Of course my favorite :-) I could talk about them for hours. Skunks will set up home to have their young under your decks, in your barn, under your barn/shed, under pallets etc. Most likely you will never know they are there. Skunks will never ever, I cannot express this enough, they will never ever come out of their den and spray you! Skunks have to be startled and they give several warnings before they spray. If you come up on a skunk, talk to it. Their eyesight is extremely poor and if you start talking then they know that you were there. Skunks are extremely docile and friendly. All they're interested in is eating and trying to stay alive. Skunks are nomads unless they have a good food source they do not set up camp and live at your home forever. A skunk will stay with her young for approximately eight to nine weeks she then takes her Young and moves on with them. Skunk babies will come out of their den and follow you around if their mother has passed away because they are starving and they're wanting you to help them. If any skunk kits do this please contact myself or another wildlife rehabilitator ASAP. Please do not try to raise them yourself. It is against the law to raise any wildlife without the proper permits and licenses.
Foxes.... Foxes will move into populated areas, such as neighborhoods to have their young. That is to get away from predators that would kill their young. Foxes live in family units. Relocating a fox family is certain death. The parents will run off and leave the kits behind, they will not come back for them as they are petrified. Once the young are old enough the fox family will move on and go back where they came from. They will not be eating all the neighborhood cats or children. They are petrified of you. Cats are not on their normal menu. If you find Fox kits where their parents have passed away please contact a wildlife rehabilitator.
If you come across an animal that is injured please contact a wildlife rehabilitator immediately.
Rabies or Distemper... If wildlife is sick on your property please contact a wildlife rehabilitator or Indiana DNR. Indiana is very fortunate that we have extremely few cases of rabies, stumbling across a wild animal that has rabies would be as common as hitting the lottery.
Unfortunately Rabies and Distemper mimic each other in symptoms. Therefore a lot of people will swear that the animal is rabid when in fact it is distemper or it could have even been poisoned.
I hope everyone fixes their property so that wildlife can find another home to have their young in.
If you have a wildlife problem, remove all food sources. Wildlife will not stay where they cannot eat. That includes taking down your bird feeders for two weeks. No cat food, no dog food left out, no food in the bird feeders, pick up all trash. They will leave if there's nothing to eat.
I hope this helps some.
I hope that everyone can work together for the betterment of the wildlife and live in harmony with them.
They are merely trying to stay alive like the rest of us.
Indiana Skunk Rescue
If you have any questions or concerns about domestic or wild skunks, please call Julie at 317-273-9288 or Rachel at 248-342-9099 at Indiana Skunk Rescue for more information. Never any judgment we are here to help not scold.