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Skunks invading Chicago and Suburbs in Record Numbers

Skunks Invading Chicago and Suburbs in Record Numbers

Have you been noticing that unmistakable skunk smell more often lately?

It’s not your imagination. Wildlife experts and animal control workers are all saying the same thing: they’re seeing more skunks than ever in the suburbs, Kane County, DuPage County, Cook County and even in Chicago.

Experts say the suburbs are in the middle of a “skunk epidemic.” It was so bad in Vernon Hills last year that the city offered to reimburse homeowners for skunk removal services.

 

Why the increase in skunks?

Skunk populations naturally go through “boom and bust” cycles because of environmental factors which affect their numbers.

The skunk populations in the Chicagoland region are growing because of many factors.

One reason is that there have been a couple of very mild winters. More skunks have been able to survive the winter and have been having litters of skunks earlier in the year, giving the offspring a better chance at survival.

Related: How to get rid of skunk smell

Record number of skunks in Chicagoland

Wet, buggy summers have given skunks a steady supply of insects to feed on and support a growing population.

There has been a decrease in the number of great horned owls, the primary predator of skunks. This has been attributed to the use of rodenticides, which poison not just rodents but the animals that feed on them.

An economic recovery and increasing home values has also meant that people are spending more on their lawns. Healthy lawns can mean more lawn grubs in the soil, a favorite meal for skunks as they prepare for winter.

Another reason is that diseases that held skunk populations in check over the past decades have decreased. Both distemper and rabies in skunks have reduced in the past few years.

Skunks also seem to be growing more adapted to the urban environment. They’ve been spotted more and more right in the city. They’ve been captured in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, in the very urban heart of Chicago.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources keeps track of the skunk population by measuring the number of skunks captured by licensed skunk removal companies and the number picked up by city and state workers as roadkill.

Licensed animal control companies captured 6,700 striped skunks in the Chicago area in 2010. Just six years later, the total doubled to nearly 13,000 in 2016.

That’s a lot of skunks wandering around through the Chicago area.

It means more holes in lawns from skunks hunting grubs. It means more encounters with skunks and dogs, which can be a really stinky and challenging situation to deal with.

It also can mean more human and skunk encounters, and skunks searching for homes under people’s patios and porches.

Related post: What to do when your dog gets skunked

 

Is there anything that can be done about the skunk population?

Homeowners can make sure they don’t make their homes and properties attractive to skunks. By implementing a grub control program on your lawn, you can remove one of their favorite food sources.

Related Post: Repel skunks

Other than that, at some point nature will probably take over. Animal populations move through cycles of lower and increased numbers. At some point either weather, disease or predators will bring the skunk population back down.

For now, though, watch out for these stinky neighbors.


Attic Solutions - Contact Us Today For professional skunk removal services in the Chicago suburban area, contact Attic Solutions for humane removal of skunks and other pests.

Contact us online or call 847-464-1861 


Related news stories:

Experts Warn of Skunks Migrating to Chicago

Why you’re seeing more skunks than ever in Kane County

Tips for dealing with growing number of skunks in Chicago

Meet Your New Neighbors, Chicago — Skunks

Increase in skunks raising a stink in Fox Valley

Skunks – and their stench – on the rise in suburban Chicago

Chicago Suburb Paying Residents for Trapped Skunks

Suburban ‘skunk epidemic’ survival tips


 

Repel Skunks

repel skunks

Are skunks invading your yard or home? If you’re familiar with the pesky creatures, you know they have a tendency to dig up your flowers and gardens. In addition, their pungent spray is enough to scare away any predator, including you and your pets! Though we recommend contacting professionals to remove your skunks safely and effectively, here are a few of our suggestions repel skunks in the mean time.

Remove Skunk’s Food Source

The fastest way to repel skunks is to remove all food sources. If your yard has no tasty, easily accessible food pests will find a new home. Keep all garbage cans tightly shut. Do not leave pet food or water dishes out overnight. Pick up any fruit that may have dropped to the ground from fruit-bearing trees. This step may be exhaustive, but it can prevent skunks and other pests from coming to your home.

Use Light To Repel Skunks

Skunks are nocturnal animals, which means they are most active during the night. Bright light has the potential to scare them away for a short time. This method is moderately effective, as skunks become accustomed to the light. Shining a bright light on your garden may repel skunks for a little while, but it isn’t very practical. Additionally, it is not very cost effective to blast your entire yard with a bright lighting system.

Deter with water

If your home has an automatic sprinkler system in place, you may have a short-term solution to your skunk problem! Automated sprinkler systems can squirt any animal that triggers the motion sensor. The skunks in your yard may be frightened enough to leave for good, but they may also become familiar with the water and ignore it.

Skunk Repellant Spray

There is no approved poison for skunks. In fact, it is illegal to kill them by use of poison. However, you can try using a natural repellant recipe to deter skunks from digging up your garden. Boil up cayenne pepper, jalapeños, and yellow onion, then strain the mixture, and keep the remaining liquid in a spray bottle. Use this every 3 days on your garden, plants, or whatever you want the skunk to avoid. This recipe can be successful if used continuously.

Fencing

Barriers can be effective against skunks, because they are poor climbers and jumpers. Use mesh wire on any areas of your home that skunks may want to dig and nest near. Placing this wire about 3 feet high should prevent skunks from penetrating the barrier. Use this in areas like sheds, decks, and openings near your home.