Striped skunks are easily recognized by their characteristic colors and pattern. The fur is black with a white stripe that begins as a triangular shape on the top of the head, forks into two stripes that travel down the sides of the back, and usually merges again near the base of the tail. Another white stripe runs from the base of the snout between the eyes and ends on the forehead. Stripe width and length vary with each individual. They are about the size of a domestic cat.
Striped skunks are nocturnal, sleeping during the day in underground burrows and emerging around dusk to search for food. They prefer to use burrows made by other animals of equal size or natural burrows under tree stumps or buildings. They use their long front claws to build their own den if necessary.
Both males and females undergo periods of inactivity from November until March. Females often remain in their winter dens for the entire winter, but males usually emerge during mild temperature periods to feed. Winter dens usually consist of six females and their young. One male sometimes occupies a den with females, but usually lives alone in its own den.
The skunk's den is typically under a low-lying porch, deck or shed. Occasionally they will take advantage of a large enough hole in the foundation of the home. Since it is a burrowing animal, exclusion must be performed at and below grade, not only at their access point, but along the entire outer edge of the structure (deck, shed, porch). This is the only way to keep the animals from digging a new burrow to regain entry. We use 2 different processes to exclude the skunks, depending on site conditions. The first process employs trenching and screening: We dig a trench 12"-15" deep along the perimeter. We then install galvanized steel screening, attaching it to the base of the structure and extending it into the soil. We then backfill the soil. If desired, we can improve the aesthetics of the work by adding lattice, trim, etc. The 2nd process employs a product called Dig Defence: This heavy duty steel exclusion product is driven into the soil to a depth of 16" using a sledgehammer. In both instances, we will install a one-way door to allow any animals in the den to escape. Once through the door, the animals are locked out of the den. We remove the door after 1-2 weeks, then complete the exclusion and backfill the soil. Trapping and removal of the skunk is not necessary, but can be performed if desired. The exclusion service warranty period is 2 years. (Exclusion work for opossum and woodchuck is identical to that of the skunk).