Tracks

5 toed tracks in both front and back. The front heel pad is smaller and has a reduced additional pad which may show up as a single dot behind and center of the front heel pad.

Droppings/Scant

Tubular, blunt ends with a smooth surface. They are not hard, and break up easily if prodded.
Skunk map

The Skunk

Skunks usually attack bird flocks by killing only one victim, and are known for their clumsy mauling efforts of the bird.

Appearance
Skunks range in size from about in 15.6 to 37 in (40 to 94 cm) long and in weight from about 1.1 lb (0.50 kg) (spotted skunks) to 18 lb (8.2 kg) (hog-nosed skunks).
The skunk's odor it discharges is a repellent of predators. They have two internal glands at the base of the tail which can produce a thick, volatile, oily liquid containing sulfur compounds. Just prior to spraying, skunks do a type of war dance intended to scare off what they might deem as a threat. Once skunks raise their tails, they are able to spray up to 20 ft with good accuracy to 10 ft.

Reproduction
Skunks are mainly active during the warmer months, giving birth to young mid-spring to mid-summer. During the cold of winter, skunks are inactive but will mate in late winter.

Skunks are very good diggers, mainly attributed to their sharp curving claws. They generally do not climb, and will often crawl underneath fences or dig below to gain access to poultry. They will kill only one or two birds and eat the eggs. The eggs are typically crushed at one end with shell fragments pushed inward.

Because skunks are usually active only at night, many people never notice that they are living nearby. Barking dogs may be the first apparent sign of their presence, and the odor resulting from a skunk/dog confrontation will provide positive evidence.

Habitat
Skunks are live in clearings, pastures, open lands bordering forests and den in the ground, under buildings, and under wood or rock piles.

Other concerns
Skunks pose a threat to your flock and can also carry rabies in the United States. The striped skunk is second only to the raccoon in number of recorded rabies cases within the United States.

How to Prevent Skunk Attacks

Enclose poultry in a secure, enclosed area at night :

Prevent skunks from digging underneath enclosures to access poultry : Bury fencing 1 to 2 ft (0.4 to 0.6 m) underneath the ground or alternately, bring outward 11 to 24 in to form an apron around the perimeter of the enclosure, securing with anchors, large rocks, or low level native vegetation.

Environmental modifications : Keep shrubbery and grass trimmed. Pick up fallen fruit and harvest garden frequently. Remove rock and woodpiles that might be used for den sites. Securely board off entry under sheds, outbuildings, porches, and vacant buildings. Eliminate water sources.

Frightening

  • Ammonia-soaked rags : Place ammonia-soaked rags where the animal is seen.

References

  1. Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage. Editors, Scott E. Hygnstrom, Robert M. Timm, Gary E. Larson. 1994. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 2 vols.
  2. http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/whos_that_digging_in_my_yard_skunks_raccoons_or_moles
  3. Alderleaf Wilderness College,. (2014). Skunk Tracks and Sign: An Online Field Guide. Retrieved 18 December 2014, from http://www.wildernesscollege.com/skunk-tracks.html
  4. Designs, H. (2014). National Trappers Association - Furbearers. Nationaltrappers.com. Retrieved 18 December 2014, from http://www.nationaltrappers.com/skunk.html
  5. Extension.missouri.edu,. (2014). G9454 Managing Skunk Problems in Missouri. University of Missouri Extension. Retrieved 18 December 2014, from http://extension.missouri.edu/p/g9454
  6. Ianrpubs.unl.edu,. (2014). Publication: Dealing with Skunks. Retrieved 18 December 2014, from http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/pages/publicationD.jsp?publicationId=864
  7. National Geographic,. (2014). Skunks, Skunk Pictures, Skunk Facts - National Geographic. Retrieved 18 December 2014, from http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/skunk/?source=A-to-Z
  8. Ipm.ucdavis.edu,. (2014). Skunks Management Guidelines--UC IPM. Retrieved 18 December 2014, from http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74118.html
  9. Wdfw.wa.gov,. (2014). Skunks - Living with Wildlife. Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. Retrieved 18 December 2014, from http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/skunks.html
  10. https://p3nlmysqladm002.secureserver.net/grid50/6611/index.php?db=chickendvm&table=predators&lang=en-utf-8&target=navigation.php&token=bb48216c7a9d4aa46442aaca57e44835
  11. http://unis.mcgill.ca/en/uw/mammals/skunks.html