If you have a skunk around your home, then your concern can be the possibility of it carrying rabies or spraying your dog. However, a high number of skunks do not have rabies. They will come near you just for the opportunity of getting food from a pet dish or to clear the yard from mice or bugs. When you see a skunk during daylight, that doesn’t mean it is a rabid skunk since it may be a mother that has kittens to support. However, at a certain level, you need to be concerned. You have to look at its appearance, attitude and activity.
For the appearance, you should check if the fur looks healthy and well-groomed and if it has good body posture and walks in a normal way. If the fur is dirty and unkempt, or if it appears uncoordinated or drunk, then it may show that the animal is sick.
If a skunk is in your yard, it may be eating the food of your pets or eating the bugs from the yard. If it is moving with attention and a purpose, then it is a healthy animal. However, if it is sleeping in the yard or if it is wandering aimlessly, and it looks as if it is partially paralyzed or injured on the back legs, it may be a sick animal.
Check if the skunk reacts or is alert. It will fluff the tail and stomp its feet. It should stand its ground in your presence and it should run away if you back off. This is a healthy animal. If the skunk seems not to care if the pet approaches or if it attacks people or pets without being provoked, then it may be a sick animal.
If you see a skunk during the day and it seems as if it is sick, then you should never approach it. They are not fighters but they are defenders. When it is given a chance, a skunk will choose to run away and it will not stop to defend itself or it may choose to spray. It is rare to see a skunk charging or biting. If you see a skunk that charges, bites or attacks without any apparent reason, then you should call the animal control company near you. If you have been bitten, you should report to the doctor at once since rabies is 100 percent fatal if not treated properly.
A rabid skunk is disoriented and is uncaring if it is being approached by humans or pets. They will not react even to your presence and they can be sleeping in the daylight or evening in open spaces. This is where people get the idea that whenever there is a skunk outside, it is also rabid. However, if you see a skunk eating in the daylight, then it means that it was not able to get enough food during the night, so it is out for food only.
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