Raccoons … Opossums … Skunks
Raccoons are one of North County’s most engaging creatures; especially the inquisitive little masked bandits that beg for food down by the lagoon and at your campground. Most people are not aware of how destructive a mother raccoon can be when she digs through a roof and then has her pups in your attic!
During winter or early in the springtime, a female raccoon will be looking for a den where she can raise her young. If she finds a weakness in an overlapping roofline or a missing screen, she will move in and set up housekeeping. In an attic, raccoons are extremely destructive and they can be very dangerous while they protect their young. The time to chase one out is before she has a litter. Contact us if you see a raccoon on your roof or under a shed this winter.
If you have a raised foundation, check your sub area vents and make certain that the access is securely sealed. It is often very difficult to find and remove a family of raccoons from an attic or a sub area. Do not enter any enclosed area with a mother raccoon! It can be very dangerous.
Raccoons and possums are not native to southern California; both are imported species, and they can be very hard on local wildlife.
Opossums, or as they are commonly known, possums, are the only native North American marsupial. That means that they carry their young in a pouch on their belly. They reproduce more rapidly than any other local mammal, with very large litters that are born in nearly embryonic form after only two weeks of gestation.
Possums are relatively slow moving and have extremely poor eyesight. Their reputation for biting is very overrated; a possum’s only method of self defense is to fall into a dead faint when it is attacked or startled. Because of their low natural body temperature, possums cannot transmit rabies, but they do carry fleas, ticks, and other parasites.
How can such an attractive animal become so repulsive and abhorrent? A Native American legend from Central America says that the beautiful skunk’s vanity caused a god to curse it with an unbearable odor. Baby skunks are also capable of raising a stink if they are disturbed by people or pets, and anywhere that a skunk lives will develop a disagreeable odor over a period of time. They begin breeding in January and begin having their litters in March and April. A skunk may live for five to twelve years here in Southern California and typically it will wander over an area of about two square miles. They forage at night, often digging up grubs from our yards, leaving characteristic little holes in the lawns where they dig. Skunks love dog and cat food and will eat some types of flowers and plants from our gardens, but their normal fare is grubs, bugs, mice and the occasional baby rat.
Skunk control can be a nightmare if it is done improperly and it is sometimes very hard to do properly. If you have a porch, a deck, or a shed that an animal can fit under, you would be well advised to seal up the openings before the skunk moves in! Remember that skunks are happy to dig out a cozy burrow underneath a structure where they can be dry and can raise a large family of little stinkers.
Skunks are not hard to trap; they are shy but they are not particularly bright when it comes to traps, and they are suckers for cat and dog kibbles. (Try not to catch your cat!) But once you catch a skunk, what do you do next? Walking up to a skunk in a trap can be a demoralizing experience, and you should never transport one in the trunk of your car! If you have a skunk under your porch or in a trap, you should not let a dog get anywhere near it, unless you want to spend the next week trying to deodorize the dog and the property. Contact us if you live in San Diego’s North County. We can advise you over the phone and we would be delighted to help you with any skunk or skunk prevention work on your property.
Pinpoint’s pricing for small animal trapping and exclusion is based on the amount of time and on the materials that we will need to complete the work. We offer the very lowest return on your investment but we regret that we cannot respond to inquiries from outside of our North County service area.