Skunks in New York: what to do if this animal snuck into your yard or house
In recent weeks, skunks have been sighted in several Staten Island communities, and residents of other New York boroughs have not escaped this fate either. Our editorial cat also met one of these creatures.
In the case of our cat, everything worked out. The veterinarian at the clinic wished us luck and gave us a recipe for an anti-skunk elixir. The cat was “washed”, it dried up, however, in an isolated room, since few people can endure such a smell.
After such an adventure, we decided to find out for ourselves and share with you what to do when meeting a skunk, and how to protect yourself.
The black and white nocturnal creatures are not usually a cause for concern if left alone, but they can carry rabies and have been known to release fetid spray when they think they are threatened. Silive.
On the subject: 13 curious and little-known facts about New York
Although these animals are nocturnal, during the day skunks can be seen in urban areas because there is a lot of food and very few predators. Such visits to the city do not mean that they have rabies, as is commonly believed.
From afar, they seem fluffy, cute and defenseless, but if you get too close, the skunk will release a powerful smelly stream. The unpleasant odor can persist for several days, cannot be washed off with water, and is very difficult to remove from the surface. That's why they were given the scientific name Mephitis mephitis, which means "double smell".
The skunk's defensive jet can even cause pain and temporary blindness if it hits the eyes, and can travel up to 10 feet (3 m).
However, skunks often make warning signs before they release their scent, including stomping, hissing, and arching their backs. So consider yourself forewarned: if you see this behavior, back off quickly.
Skunks prefer open areas to forests and do not hibernate. Therefore, it is not uncommon for them to forage for food in winter.
In New York City, open spaces and lawns in parks provide the ideal habitat. Skunks often hide in burrows created by other animals such as marmots. According to the Parks Department, these animals can hide under buildings and inside hollow logs harvested for heating in winter.
Coexistence with skunks
Tips from the City Parks Department:
- store all food and trash in animal-proof containers. Litter and pet food can attract skunks;
- do not leave pet food unattended;
- keep your distance. Skunks spray on people or pets they consider a threat;
- protect and vaccinate your pets. Skunks are capable of carrying and transmitting rabies, as well as parasites and diseases of wild animals. Walk dogs on a leash and keep cats inside. Be sure to keep your pets vaccinated.
Visit Wildlife NYC or www.nyc.govto report the whereabouts of a skunk in New York.