Skunks are cat-sized mammals that are common throughout North America. These creatures are known for their long, black fur with a white stripe and, of course, their defensive odor secretions. Though widely disliked, skunks are valuable to the ecosystem and provide natural pest control of many smaller problem rodents. However, they can become a problem for homeowners when they nest near the home.
Skunks are opportunists and will nest near a home if there is an attractive hiding area or food source. This can include a wood pile, outdoor pet food bowls, crawl spaces, and grub-dense yards. The primary risk of this is, of course, a resident, pet, or home area being sprayed with a pungent skunk secretion. Additionally, skunks can carry pathogens, such as rabies and leptospirosis.
If you suspect a skunk in or near your home, do not attempt to approach it alone. Contact your local pest control professional, who can address the concern humanely and safely with the help of local animal control.