What Symptoms Will A Sick Skunk Display?
Since it is not uncommon to encounter wild skunks in many parts of the country, it is wise to know their common characteristics. Skunks tend to carry many illnesses and diseases, so you need to know when best to keep your distance and protect your pets.
Actually, you should always keep your distance from a wild skunk. Never let pets out to intimidate a skunk or attempt to chase it away. Skunks typically aren’t aggressive, but they will defend themselves. Aside from getting injured, your pet can get very sick and even die if the skunk is carrying a disease.
Most skunks you encounter will be relatively healthy. However, sometimes you will run into one that isn’t. In this instance you want to keep your distance and alert your local wildlife management team. They will need to know where you saw the animal and how it was behaving that alerted you to its illness. Signs of Illness in Skunks
Some symptoms of illness can be more apparent than others, especially in skunks. About twenty-five percent of the skunk population in the United States is infected with rabies, according to the Center for Disease Control. That amounts to one in every four skunks having rabies.
Some of the most obvious symptoms are physical. If you see a skunk foaming at the mouth or drooling excessively, it is probably very sick. A gooey discharge around the eyes or nose is another dead giveaway.
Depending on the illness, the animal may shake. It isn’t always constant. Sometimes it is more like tremors that come and go. Sick skunks may also have seizures or convulsive episodes that are obviously uncontrollable.
Skunks are not typically very vocal, so if it starts to vocalize or scratch incessantly, then it may be sick. Many illnesses attack the animal’s equilibrium. The animal may suddenly lose its balance or even walk in small circles.
Another dead giveaway of an illness is patchy fur. Depending on the illness, the skunk may begin to lose its hair in large chunks. There may be several bald spots on the animal, or all of its hair may be thinning.
Skunks are also typically pretty shy animals. They tend to keep to themselves and forage for food until it is time to mate. If you encounter a skunk that does not seem to fear humans or acts aggressively, get out of there quickly. This is often a tell-tale sign of rabies and it can be easily transmitted to humans. What to Do
If you encounter a skunk that seems to be ill, do not approach it. Back away immediately and slowly. Contact your local wildlife management team as soon as possible. Give them all the information you have about the skunk in question.
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