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No Skunk Left Behind

Aug 21, 2010

Skunk in Winona Elementary WashroomWe all know that now is the time we need to watch out for kids as they make their way back to school. Unfortunately, this uniquely colored skunk didn’t want to be left out. Staff knew that a critter had been spending time in the washroom at night, but on Friday, Aug. 20, he was there for lunch count. You might imagine the panic this caused school administrators.

When Wildlife Conflicts Happen

A skunk foraging in the field on a warm summer evening is a Kodak moment. One in the school bathroom is a panic attack. This one likely found its way into the school when a door was left open while summer workers were readying the school for the kids’ return. However it got there, when wildlife gets into places that could make it become a nuisance, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has information on how best to deal with it. In many cases, making the area less desirable to the animal will do the trick. Other times, the animal must be removed. MDC has live traps available for loan at no cost. Special covered traps for skunks are also available.

Wildlife Conflict Information Available

This skunk was trapped and released some distance from the school, and neither he nor his trappers were worse for the wear. For more information on borrowing a live trap or suggestions on handling nuisance wildlife, call the Twin Pines staff at 573-325-1381.


Thanks for the question.  Both species of skunks found in Missouri, as all members of the Family Mustelidae, have the musk glands.  Only the skunks have the delivery system however. 

Do both skunk species like the Striped Skunk and the Spotted Skunk give off really foul odor?

There are two species of skunk in Missouri.  The Striped Skunk, Mephitis mephitis, and the Spotted Skunk, Spilogale putorius. The Striped Skunk, whose name means "bad odor, bad odor", can be all black, all white or anything in between. In some regions, they may even be brown.  Even with the unique coloration, they are still the same species. 

Thanks for the comment.  Many items like helium balloons or noise will work for a time.  Animals get used to the disturbance and ignore it.  To be effective, they should be moved every few days. 

I found a small, very affordable (less than $30.00) appliance that's great to deter wildlife from places where it's hard to control them with other measures such as closing entrance ways. This device is solar-powered and produces a small pulsating red light; it should be placed at approximate eye height of the animal that needs to be scared away. I read about this in a book about poultry keeping, where the author reported best results for these devices when she positioned them at her hen houses. I tried these lights for roof rats that came on our balcony and they may work even for these small animals, although it is a challenge to find out where best to position the devices (we bought 2) since the rats can come onto the balcony from multiple directions (we'd probably need more than 2 of these devices to cover all areas which rats might use to enter the balcony). Apparently, it is easy for a somewhat talented person to build such devices at home (or in school :-)!

There is supposed to be two kinds of skunks in Mo., the striped and spotted. I live in Bollinger county and have a wild family of Hooded skunks. Looks to be 4 of them.

wow, good thing it was not a pack of skunks !

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