Did you know that about 23% of all cases of rabies in California come from skunks?


In the Sacramento area, we have the species of skunk called the striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis). It is the member of the weasel family and is equipped with a strong scent gland. It can spray literally up to 10 feet in distance and is very accurate. If sprayed in the eyes, it can cause serious burning and temporary blindness.

The striped skunk is as large as a house cat and has a stripe going down its back.

Skunks are nocturnal and prey on insects, small rodents, grubs, frogs, mushrooms, berries, pet food, garbage and much more. They love eggs and ground-nesting birds suffer large losses.

They breed during February and March and the gestation time is 9 weeks. The litters range from 6-9 kits. After some time, you will see the kits following the mother as they search for food. They do not hibernate and are active year round in the Sacramento area.

They live in burrows. Sometimes they dig but they prefer to use burrows already dug by foxes, coyotes, ground squirrels and others. They often use decks, porches, raised foundation homes. They will dig under concrete to create a nest.

There is a great concern that skunks carry rabies. Skunks are the primary carrier of rabies, but can also carry leptospirosis, listeriosis, canine distemper, canine hepatitis, Q-fever, tularemia, and trypanosoma.

Skunks love residential areas because food, water, and shelter is so available there. They often search for food by digging up lawns. They love new lawns because they are so prone to getting grub worms and other insects.

For more information on Skunk Biology, you can go the University of California,  Davis website.