Striped skunk (Alfred Viola, Northeastern University,

Spotted skink

Western spotted skunk (National Park Service, Wikimedia Commons)

skung damage to lawns

Skunk damage to lawn (Ohio State University Extension)


  • about the size of a housecat
  • black fur and two broad white stripes running the length of the body; spotted skunks are black with white markings and about half the size of a housecat
  • release odorous spray (distance of 8 – 15 feet) when disturbed or cornered

Nesting Habits

  • build dens in brush piles, open irrigation pipes, storage areas, sheds, under structures, etc.
  • solitary animals, except for mating and during winter
  • most active at night


  • wide range of plant and animal material including berries, fruits, vegetables, insects, small rodents, reptiles, eggs and young birds


  • known carriers of diseases, such as rabies, and a variety of parasites
  • may damage lawns and athletic fields by digging for food; leave bare patches and small cone-shaped holes
  • odorous defensive spray

IPM Recommendations

  • Check local regulations for skunk management prior to control.
  • Eliminate potential den sites and food sources outdoors.
  • In buildings without concrete foundations, seal all holes with a fine wire mesh to prevent skunks from denning under the structure.
  • If a skunk enters a structure, do not harass or disturb it. Leave exits open to allow it to leave on its own.
  • Contact a professional to trap and remove the skunk.

Additional information: